In today’s connected world, enterprise mobility allows organizations to earn business value by engaging closely with colleagues, suppliers, partners, and customers. With always-on online connectivity, employees wish to get more tasks completed in less time, from wherever they are.
This increasing demand for handheld access to enterprise applications and business data, is driving the need for more adaptive, dependable and cost-efficient IT solutions. By integrating mobile applications with back office data management platforms, companies can access and analyze data about customers, employees and operations much faster. This anytime, anywhere access to information helps business managers across the enterprise to make real-time, strategic decisions that deliver business value.
The need of enterprise mobility is undeniable – faster business processes, closer customer connections, and faster decisions. However developing the enterprise mobile applications which will meet the user requirements is a very difficult job for IT. Moreover, there is always a high pressure from business to mobilize applications quickly versus high effort and limited budget to mobilize processes.
SAP is growing exponentially in Mobility Space and we have multiple ways in which SAP provides rich enterprise mobile applications.
As per the Gartner’s Report published in August 2013, SAP is on top in leaders Quadrant. According to this report:
- Customers report high levels of satisfaction with SAP mobile solutions, and that SAP’s MADP offerings are stable and secure
- SAP’s banking and messaging solutions have demonstrated the ability to scale to support demanding consumer scenarios
- SAP offers some of the broadest device support among all the multichannel vendors
SAP provides a industry-leading mobile application development platform named as SMP – SAP Mobile Platform, that solves mobility challenges, supports mobile apps that fit your business-to-enterprise (B2E) or business-to-consumer (B2C) use case, and helps balance device user requirements with enterprise requirements.
In first quarter of 2013, SAP has come up with SAP Fiori which is a collection of applications with a simple and easy to use experience for broadly and frequently used SAP functions that work seamlessly across devices – desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Wave 2 of Fiori apps is also out in the market with more 198+ apps.
This Document highlights the solutions provided by SAP for enterprise mobile apps. The paper also makes an attempt to provide detailed view of these solutions and crisp comparison between these solutions. I trust my attempt will help you find best-fit mobile solution to your business scenario.
SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) :
Sybase Unwired Platform and the Syclo Agentry development platform have been integrated, and the product rebranded to SAP Mobile Platform. SAP Mobile Platform provides the middleware platform where users connect to and interact with various enterprise information systems and applications that exist in any large or medium size corporate IT infrastructure that supports customers, employees, sales, partners, suppliers, and executives. SMP acts as the hub that connects enterprise information systems and data sources to mobile devices.
Find more details on SMP here …
SAP Fiori :
SAP Fiori is a collection of apps with a simple and easy to use experience for broadly and frequently used SAP functions that work seamlessly across devices – desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Fiori is developed by SAP working closely with over 250 customers to understand the most commonly used business functions and ways in which the user experience for those functions could be improved and simplified.
Wave 2 of Fiori app with 198+ apps, is now in market for our use, The apps are designed for the most common business functions, such as workflow approvals, information lookups and self-service tasks, analytical apps.
Find more details on Fiori here …
Now as we have seen that SAP has provided above two approaches majorly, for mobilizing your business, let us now compare these solutions and see which one best fits to your scenario.
|SAP Mobile Platform||SAP FIORI|
|SAP’s Roadmap and Goal|
A stable platform that will allow for mobile innovation through the use of a common architecture, enhanced security and better control. Goal is to qquickly build and deploy mobile apps that keep your workforce and customers connected and engaged – with the SAP Mobile Platform.
Collection of ready to use applications for broadly and frequently used SAP software functions . Goal is to provide immediate impact by renewing the user experience of the most broadly and frequently used SAP software functions that can be accessed from mobile and desktop devices
The SMP is an on-premise or cloud-based mobile application development platform that accelerates the development and delivery of secure, highly scalable business-to-enterprise (B2E) and business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile applications on any device.
SMP is a mobile enterprise application platform that securely mobilizes information on a variety of mobile devices.
Thus using SMP, developer has to build a complete custom application that meets business requirements.
Fiori is a collection of apps with a simple and easy to use experience for broadly and frequently used SAP software functions that work seamlessly across devices – desktop, tablet, or smartphone.This is not a platform, rather these are ready to use applications and hence with little installation and configuration, become available for customers to use.
Provides an enterprise-class mobility platform delivered, maintained, and further developed by SAP, as your unified mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP)
Includes fully integrated mobile device, user, apps, and security capabilities.
Includes non-SAP, thin integration layers, so that well selected instant value pre-packaged solutions can be added out of the box.
Supports multiple mobile devices and operating systems
These apps are extensible and customizable to meet customer’s requirements and can be adapted and aligned to corporate branding.
They are designed for increased productivity.
Fiori Apps can be assigned by specific roles so users get
Users can personalize the order of the applications.
Responsive design allows the same application to be available for different form-factors.
The Architecture is little complex as compared to Fiori:
Afaria Server offers integrated device management and security for the broadest range of platforms from a single, web based console.
Fiori Architecture is simple and relies on three components.
No mobile platform is required.
There are two approaches :
Backend integration is simple aand uses oData Approach. SAP Netweaver Gateway exposes existing SAP Business Suite processes as OData services.
In simple terms, it takes RFC data from SAP back-end and
The SAP Fiori apps can be deployed in multiple ways;
SAP Fiori can also be configured to give access to a sub-set of apps based on user roles. Also as Fiori apps use Netweaver Gateway as middleware connector, Netweaver Gateway has two deployment options:
SAP Mobile Platform supports two mobile business object-based application types:
Native Applications :
Hybrid Web Container-based Hybrid App
SAP Fiori are (online web based) lightweight apps fectching data directly from the backend system.
SMP provides Basic Protection to mobile devices like PIN to activate device. SAP Afaria®, can add another layer of security to the mobile devices.
Developers can add security to SMP server client applications by configuring a prompt for authentication, requiring a username and password upon launch.
SMP supports Local Database File Encryption to prevent unauthorized users from accessing data
A Relay Server can be used as it provides secure network connectivity between devices connecting from the Internet and the SMP servers on an intranet that have access to corporate data systems and applications
For more details on security please check SAP documents
Secure system access for SAP Fiori applications involves password, user, and password policies, as well as special considerations for mobile devices
You can enable an additional PIN code to enable users to lock their devices and prevent unauthorized users from accessing data.
You can also Enable remote management software allowing you to remotely lock mobile
All communication channels should be encrypted in order to ensure confidentiality and integrity of data.
HTTP connections can be protected through Transport Layer Security (TLS) and RFC connections can be protected through Secure Network Communications (SNC).
Internet access to your SAP ERP backend system from an SAP Fiori application can be secured by means of an application-level gateway in the corporate network Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
For mobile device the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) can also be a viable access path if you wrap the Fiori apps into small hybrid apps. In that case SMP can add an additional layer of security with its device registration features, but all of that is purely optional.
For more details on security please check Fiori Security Guide.
|Total Cost of ownership and Total Cost Deployment|
As with SMP, a complete custom application has to be developed, overall cost of building the application will be high thus increasing TCD and TCO.
More number of skilled resources will be required and development time would increase with complexity of application, in turn Total cost of ownership and deployment will go high.
Reduced development efforts: Implementation efforts and time for Fiori apps is less than developing custom application. This provides faster and easier deployment of applications, thus you can get started with SAP Fiori immediately and bring instant value to all employees. SAP Fiori enables companies to leverage their existing SAP investments by delivering powerful business results. Early users of SAP Fiori have reported tremendous business benefits,
|Web responsive design|
|With SMP, you won’t be able to create a unified web responsive design application. With Hybrid web container, you can create a single application that can open across multiple OS on mobile devices, however you cannot use them on desktop/laptops.||
As Fiori uses HTML5 as frontend technology, thus allowing
These apps are designed to adjust to the device form-factor, and thus can be accessed from mobile and desktop devices through a consistent user experience.
Thus to conclude, with Fiori, SAP is delivering (online web based) realtime apps directly from the backend system. There is no more need for a separate mobile platform. These apps can also be made available through the new SAP Mobile platform, enterprise edition, Cloud version. Main reason would be to provide a single platform to combine, and control, both SAP backend Apps and e.g. own build SAP Hana Cloud apps.
Since there are plans to also provide offline capabilities in the new oData releases, less existing application will require SAP Mobile Platform. SAP has planned “offline” integration with SMP. It will work on current MBO concept that gets their data from the OData connection. SAP has also released the SAP Mobile Platform on HANA cloud. With this now ithere is no need to install and maintain a platform server on premise. This will definately simplify our life.
In reality, SMP and Fiori are the solutions that SAP has intended for different purpose. There usage and Roadmap is different. However if you read various articles published in SAP Mobility space, SAP clearly say’s that a company has long way to go in both these areas.
References : SAP documents on SMP and Fiori