On January 8th, 2011 American Dialect Society declared “App” as the most voted “Word of the year 2010″ .
One of the most convincing arguments from the voting floor was from a woman who said that even her grandmother had heard of it.
Since then the word “App” has turned into a new world of app stores, devices, tools, platforms and developers. The ecosystem of apps is making it easier and cheaper to build, deploy and integrate apps.
In the enterprise world, “App” is a downloadable, self-contained program or piece of software designed to fulfill a particular business process.
Enterprise Apps can transform businesses by allowing users to do things in completely new ways. They allow businesses to extend their reach by leveraging mobile, social, cloud, machines, and big data. They simplify the daily lives of people by creating real-time collaboration between customers, partners, employees and pretty much everything else on the internet.
Traditionally, cloud gave us the possibility of virtualizing apps and delivering the “instant needs” of the business straight from the cloud.Yet, this sort of cloud-based offering was limited in its reach because it supported very specific situations with plain vanilla functionalities.
The enterprise world is complex and it keeps getting more and more complex day by day with changing market dynamics,emerging economies and increasing competition. We need a mechanism to instantly deliver apps for not only simple scenarios but also for complex scenarios with the ability to manage and extend them as the business changes.
SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the extension platform of SAP, enables us to deliver packaged apps in the cloud with full simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility. HCP gives us options to scale up, or scale down as we need. It comes with pre-configured content for integration, prebuilt templates for design as well as security tools that are essential for enterprise apps. HCP packaged apps are production-ready apps.
Let’s take a look at the lifecycle of a packaged app on HCP to see how HCP accelerators the app journey compared to a traditional project.
Research and Preparation: The first step in building an app is “research”. You need to research correct use cases and understand business requirements. Then you need to prepare your landscape to meet the technical pre-requisites to meet those business requirements. Many organizations spend an enormous amount of time in planning these activities ( resources, infrastructure and landscape assessments ).
Downloading a production ready HCP app eliminates the preparation effort because the app is delivered in the cloud and it can integrate with heterogeneous back-ends. There is no need to prepare for additional infrastructure.
Design and Development: Unlike consumer apps, enterprise apps require deep business knowledge, industry expertise as well as domain experience. We need to combine all these expertise with design expertise and enterprise knowledge to create the overall design of the app. The user experience for enterprise apps has to match the appropriate business experience.
Downloading a production ready HCP app eliminates all of these steps because the app is designed by experts who have years & years of industry experience and understand the specific business process challenges. They have thought through the specific enterprise nuances and related user experience that is required to support the business situation. With minimal customization and branding effort, these apps can be customized for any specific business needs.
Maintenance and Extensibility: Just like any other packaged software, enterprise apps require maintenance. As your business changes, you need to add more functions to the app, extend it to new heterogeneous platforms (on-premise or cloud) and scale it to large sets of data ( big data scenario). HCP is very good for this purpose. You can utilize the “build & integration components” of HCP (such as WebIDE, HCPMS, Big Data, HCI etc.) to extend an existing app. E.g. You can utilize HCI tools of HCP to integrate business processes and data across on-premise and cloud applications. HCI enables bi-directional integration and provides simplified pre-packaged integration content making it easier and simpler for the app to integrate with your backends.
It is obvious that companies need to take shorter time frames in consideration for adopting new technologies. IT needs to be more about agility and not about large complex projects. The early adopters will have a higher competitive advantage. Packaged apps that solve your business challenges help you catch-up with new market trends. If you are an SAP customer who hasn’t yet experienced HCP, I encourage you to do so. Simply go to SAP HANA App Center . There are many pre-packaged business apps available on SAP HANA App Center that you can leverage to get a jump-start on your app journey.
What kind of challenges your business is facing? I would love to meet with you and share my personal experience with HCP. I would also demonstrate how pre-packaged apps on HCP can help you fast forward your “App journey”.
On September 29th, I will join SAP for an exclusive online seminar. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover how you can utilize Design Thinking, Fiori Design Guidelines and HANA Cloud Platform to deliver packaged apps for field workforce.
About the author: Sana Salam, Sodales Solutions
Sana Salam is the president and founder of Sodales Solutions – an award winning SAP certified partner specialized in Enterprise Mobility, User Experience and Big Data solutions. Before starting Sodales, Sana worked as a turnaround project manager where she revived derailed IT projects that suffered from complexity. Sana’s inspiration behind Sodales was to help enterprises simplify their business by humanizing the meaning of technology. Her firm uses SAP’s innovative technologies and user experience methods to solve business complexities with design thinking framework. As a winner of the SAP Mobile Apps Challenge for Microsoft Windows 8 , the winner of SAP Google Apps challenge and the first SAP partner to certify a Fiori app, Sana has a unique perspective to offer to companies who are looking to simplify their business.