Windows 8: Working on a Tablet PC with SAP Mobile Apps
I am probably one of the first employees at SAP in Walldorf who works with Windows 8 every day.
So I thought it would be a good idea to give you a short impression on my first experiences.
I decided to go for a Lenovo Helix with Intel i5 and 256 GB SSD disk instead of the Microsoft SURFACE pro. Main reason is the fact that Lenovo is the newer model. Surface 2 would have been an option (The new one comes with Haswell processor; longer battery life) but this was not available internally yet.
Below a picture of my desk; it shows the double screens (small one is the touch enabled Modern UI and ideal for Apps, large one is for normal work at my desk) and Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (to avoid the cable mess). For me this is the perfect Hybrid device. On the road I can always switch between them. Especially when downloading some details from an app, I can seamlessly continue to work in MS Excel. This is an excellent compromise between tablet and desktop device. I can now edit and work on it again instead of only consuming data. I can connect to my c:\ drives and any other shared drives and printers in the company just like I am used to. All classic Windows applications (especially MS Office) work fine and have no compatibility issues like on some other OS.
As a next step I plan to activate WIDI (wireless display) because it would also connect the monitor wirelessly. If wireless charging were available, I could work without any cable connection. When I go home I just undock the tablet from the keyboard and use the apps for the rest of the day. For the weekend I do need the power adapter.
At SAP we already started working on WIN8 apps last year. The majority of apps was done on iOS (Xcode) first, but we see increasing demand for WIN8 Apps due to the fact that people are used to this environment. Right now I have 11 native (C#) developed SAP Apps running (mostly demo), two Fiori apps (much more to come) and a couple of others like SAP Mobile documents. Even some of our new UI5 based reporting is already available internally. Of course SAP has recognized that development on one unified UI5 is much more effective than developing on iOS, WIN8, RIM and Android separately.
SAP logon and SAPGUI of course also work well.
Interesting is the way we can work with Microsoft Outlook without opening a VPN tunnel.
It’s called “SAP direct access”. There is no longer any need to open a VPN tunnel via the RSA SecureID card, unless you really need to go to internal shared drives or other internal software. This also works under WIN7.
Windows 8 takes a bit of getting used to. The differences are mainly in the new touch-based gestures and about the missing start button. I found that once I got used to the gestures (using your thumbs a bit more), I started appreciating the new way of working with apps.
These are some of the SAP apps that are currently running on Windows 8:
Fiori Approve shopping carts: workflow app to approve/reject shopping carts from employees
Fiori Track shopping carts: see the Status of all your shopping carts
SAP Mobile documents: share documents similar to Dropbox, but inside SAP firewall
SAP Financial fact sheet: showing financial details of customers
Of course all other browser based solutions also work fine. Especially the new HTML5 based reporting directly on HANA looks awesome.
Assuming that you know a little bit about the SAP Mobile Platform, I also wanted to give you a short look at our SAP Global IT implementation, to show you how we connect our apps to our backoffice systems. The 1st picture shows our standard architecture. Our iOS and Android Apps typically connect VPN-free through the SMP. This is already in place internally for more than 2 yrs with more than 70 apps connected.