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Decades ago SAP was known more for the notable ERP suite it built, but, since the last decade SAP has quickly evolved as a leader within Enterprise mobility space. Majority of the modern day mobility programs rely on SAP mobility today.

To help its customers leverage mobility even better, SAP has decided to move its focus for development efforts on SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Service.

Last April, SAP recognised the need to strengthen mobile offerings launched SAP Mobile cards for Android. This was shortly followed by the launch of SAP cloud platform SDK for Android as well. SAP also partnered with Apple to deliver an iOS SDK that makes it easy to deliver complex, rich, native iOS apps. Obviously, this comes as a good news for SAP users especially those who are residing in Europe which is considered as the most potential market because of large mobile internet base.

Although Android has always been a more vital element of SAP’s mobile portfolio, the announcement regarding the release of iOS SDK has opened another enticing option for enterprises to quickly create elegant yet powerful mobile apps. Of-course, SAP has SAP Fiori in its ecosystem which is adaptably designed to be use on mobile devices. But when we take a look at the rapidly evolving mobility needs because of IoT, offline capabilities, cross platform solutions, etc it gets exhausting to understand how to fit SAP mobility in your service ecosystem to deliver maximum impact.

Let’s take an overview.

Options for enterprises to build mobile apps on top of SAP

SAP Mobile Platform SDKs for iOS and Android

SAP offers mobile SDKs for developers through its cloud platform across native platforms (iOS/ Android) or hybrid (Kapsel and Cordova plugins for UI5 and SAP Fiori). When it comes to native mobile platforms, SAP Mobile applications can be either build on either of the two available SDKs: SAP Mobile Platform SDK and SAP Mobile Platform SDK for iOS. There is one more option available for SAP developers in the form of SAP Fiori which involves reusability of various design elements for iOS.

At the end of the day, the business requirement dictates which ones are better suited for a specific use case. For example, let’s assume that we want to build a basic app, where enterprise can get information about consumers and sales order. Developers can spend around 30 minutes doing step-by-step development leveraging SDK Mobile cards to develop function mobile apps in order to meet business needs for enterprises.

On the other hand, we may come across a use case where an app is too complex and requires a hybrid approach that involves multiple technologies and frameworks.

In either way, Enterprises have following options available to leverage SAP Mobility for their business revolution:

  • Native development – Native development is best best for those enterprises which have access to dedicated developers for iOS and Android together with good budget for enhanced productivity and performance
  • Hybrid or HTML5 apps – Hybrid mobile apps can be developed for SAP using any of the products like SAP’s NetWeaver Gateway, Sybase Mobiliser, and Syclo Agentry products. There might be some caveats while developing mobile apps with Hybrid such as slower performance which not all enterprises can compromise
  • Cross platform development – Although, cross platform solution is not good for complex SAP based mobile apps. It can be, however, used to build simpler apps. For this, developers have options available in the form of Nativescript, Appcelerator, and React Native which is hailed as “next big thing for mobile”. Where React Native is concerned, developers can build native mobile apps using SAP Hybris-as-a-service (YAAS). Developers need to be aware of few performance issues in React Native which should be optimized accordingly as they might create hindrance in the development process.
  • SAP Fiori – Enterprise can build a SAP Fiori app which would be a hybrid app leveraging the SAP Business One Service Layer (RESTful Web API).

What Infrastructure does SAP provide to build native mobile apps?

SAP offers best-in-class Mobility Infrastructure for Enterprises. This include mobile services via SAP Cloud Platform (formerly SAP HANA Cloud Platform) that mobilize SAP S/4 HANA, SAP and 3rd party systems. Backend services such as offline access, push notifications, business logic, analytics and logging. Platform services include API and identity management, integration, SAP HANA database and security.

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REQUIREMENT PRODUCT PROVIDED BY SAP
Sdk for developers SAP Mobile Platform SDKs (Ios and Android)
SAP Backend systems SAP S/4 Hana, SAP Hybris as a service (YAAS)
Mobility Services Offline, Push, Business Logic, Logging and Tracing, Engagement Analytics
Clud Platform Services Identity, Integration, API Management, SAP HANA, Security

Enterprise can leverage the above mentioned Infrastructure to meet their business requirement and needs. Although SAP has already reached to a level of business satisfaction, there is no doubt that its consumers will continue to expect more innovation and fragility with the increasing demand.

Conclusion

Literally, there are plenty of options for Enterprises to meet their dire Mobility needs. However, choosing a SAP Mobility solution should be completely dependent on the desire business use case. Then only Enterprises can make use of optimal benefits provided by SAP Mobility.

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