Q&A Session with PMC America on SMP Mobile App Development
As part of the SAP Integration and Certification Center, I have the opportunity to collaborate with various SAP partners and third-party vendors who enrich and contribute to the ever growing SAP Partner Ecosystem by integrating their solutions with SAP platforms. This is especially true in the area of mobility with the recent launch of SMP 3.0, SAP’s flagship enterprise mobility platform. This release promised exciting new features and a unified platform to simplify the development process. In an effort to shed some light on this, I have reached out to some very early adopters of this new platform so they can share their mobile app development experience on SMP 3.0.
In the first installment of this series, we will be having a short Q&A session with Scott Stefanich, Lead Mobile Solution Engineer at PMC America, and the first to have successfully completed certification of a Kapsel-based mobile app.
Please tell us about PMC America
PMC America is an SAP special expertise and solution partner who provides consulting and innovative solutions which improve the business efficiency, profitability, and adaptability of automotive suppliers and component manufacturers.
Can you give us a quick overview on PMC America’s enterprise mobility initiative?
One of PMC’s strengths is an end-to-end scanning solution which modularizes, automates, and simplifies SAP business processes. From approaching solutions in these terms, mobility was a natural progression for PMC. One of our main goals continues to be providing intuitive, streamlined solutions which utilize the productivity, efficiency, and extensibility of SAP web and mobile technologies, while remaining strongly integrated with core SAP.
How did your company get started on SMP/SUP?
We quickly agreed the company’s direction included mobility and joined the Mobile Partner program for SUP. After preparing the mobile platform and SDK in our environment, we began by creating basic proof-of-concepts to validate a solution throughout the backend, mobile platform, and applications. Then, we identified valuable business processes to be modularized, simplified, and extended from SAP. Finally, we dove into the more glamourous activities of mobile app development.
What motivated you to jump onboard SMP 3.0?
As a professional, SMP 3.0 is a great fit for mobile-minded organizations: Mobile apps can be quickly designed, deployed, and managed using open standards and future-ready technologies.
As an enthusiast, the past few years of SAP products and direction have been historically exciting to say the least. REST APIs, OData, native apps, hybrid apps, and complete application lifecycle management? Yes, please.
I was further inspired to dig into SMP 3.0 and the related technologies from SCN content, openSAP courses, and SAP contests such as the SAP Game On contest. On SCN, John Wargo’s and Daniel Van Leeuwen’s content motivated me to dig into Kapsel, and DJ Adams inspired me to investigate a RESTful approach, SAPUI5, and my dim awareness the combination of two may be pretty powerful.
Tell us about the “Warehouse Accelerator” app your team has developed for SMP 3.0. Who is it for and what are the benefits?
The app is for warehouse activities such as putting materials away to a warehouse and picking materials from a warehouse. The app streamlines SAP Warehouse Management processes which organizations have described as powerful and valuable, yet complex.
The warehouse workforce users get a prioritized overview of what they have to do, an intuitive way of doing it, and additional information if necessary – essential benefits which can be applied in a variety of apps.
Can you describe how you designed the app and your choice of technologies? For example, your mobile app is the first Kapsel-based mobile app to be certified for SMP 3.0. How was your experience using Kapsel and was it an obvious choice?
I was pretty excited to use SAP Gateway for RESTful services with OData protocol, SAPUI5 for the UI, Cordova for hybrid applications, and Kapsel for essential application and mobile platform functions. Thinking in OData terms – i.e. data sets, queries, relationships, navigation, and operations – made designing the app much easier by abstracting more complex processes from traditional SAP.
I am a fan of the basic Master-Detail design pattern as it addresses the essentials: View and filter things to do, select something to do, then do it. Thinking in OData terms, these general steps reasonably correspond to data sets, their relationships and operations, and ultimately, ABAP. Ideally, I start by shooting for three user interactions and see where the app goes from there.
Kapsel plugins for Cordova applications were an obvious choice as they simplify and standardize critical functionality. Early in designing the app, I counted on incorporating the Logon, AppUpdate, and Logger plugins.
Tell us about your migration experience going from SUP 2.1 to SMP 3.0. What were the biggest challenges?
Our scenario lent itself to a painless migration. I previously used MBOs and HWCs for SUP 2.1, but was excited to dig into Gateway services and hybrid apps using SAPUI5. The SMP 3.0 Runtime’s and SDK’s installation and configuration were straight-forward. The SMP 3.0 Management Cockpit and platform as a whole were intuitive and efficient, especially after being familiar with the previous platform’s concepts.
Which new feature(s) of SMP 3.0 do you like the most?
Kapsel is hard to beat as far as making my life easier. There’s a variety of likeable new features, but I’m mostly a fan of the overall strategy: Efficiently create, deploy, and manage user-focused apps with modern open standards.
How would you compare your team’s experience developing mobile apps on this new version of SMP 3.0 versus the older one?
At first glance, our team may have preferred the earlier mobile platform’s development tool, but have since sipped the open standards kool-aid.
What tips can you provide others who plan on porting their app to SMP 3.0, if any?
Read SCN and the SMP 3.0 product documentation at the Sybase Infocenter, watch videos at SAP Mobile Academy and through the openSAP courses, and have fun
How was your experience with the mobile app certification process?
Our certification was extremely well-organized and valuable for confirming the entirety of the solution. Certification addressed everything from deploying packaged SAP components to test-driving the app, areas in which different organizations may have strengths or weaknesses.
Do you think that the certification process allowed you to align with SAP in a technical way?
Our certification consultant seamlessly worked in both technical and business process terms as necessary. I enjoyed discussing the technical architecture with someone who had worked with a variety of scenarios.
Do you think that certification process promotes better quality apps?
Methodically reviewing an app and landscape in their entirety keeps us honest.
What you would like to see in future versions of SMP?
That’s a good question. We’re keeping pretty busy with the current functionality and features.
In conclusion, can you share some final thoughts on your experience?
I believe SAP’s strategy, products, and commitment has been reminding a lot of us of why we got into technology in the first place: Productive applications of exciting technology.
Thank you !
This concludes our Q&A session. I would like to thank Scott for sharing his valuable insights and experience with the SAP Community !
Please find the list of useful links below. If you want to learn more about the mobile app certification, please contact the SAP Integration and Certification Center to understand the services we offer to facilitate integration with SAP.
About PMC America:
About the mobile app certification on SMP 3.0:
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