Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Analysis - SAP's Emerging Mobility Strategy - Fasten Your Seat Belts!

SAP has announced this week that one of their strategic focuses for the next 5 years is mobile computing and mobile software applications according to SAP chief technology officer Vishal Sikka said. The pervasiveness of mobile computing and social networking also have SAP developing applications and extensions, which will allow wireless users to collaborate and utilize SAP and non-SAP related data for on the fly computing.
I write wireless industry analyst reports and provide consulting on mobile strategies so have been keeping a careful eye on this market. It is moving at warp speed now! After many years of mostly small software companies in the mobile enterprise software applications market, the big kahunas are jumping in with both feet and this will change the industry. Read a few of these article titles:

A quick glance at the above articles shows you that the biggest technology companies in the world are now taking mobility seriously and the M&A activities are heating up. Mobile Epiphany is not a large company, but its parent is well funded and sets a higher standard for other start-ups than was faced in the past.

SAP is planning to compete against Salesforce.com in 2010. Salesforce.com has a popular mobile application and SAP will be required to launch one as well to successfully compete. This is an example of what entrepreneurs should be looking for now. Opportunities to help the ERP vendors meet their 5 year plans with add-on mobile solutions that extend their business processes to the mobile workforce.

My analysis - mobile start-ups cannot simply have a good idea now days. They must do a thorough investigation into the plans of the wireless carriers, mobile device manufacturers, mobile operating system developers and ERP vendors to understand the solution gaps and market place ambitions before launching another mobile application. The enterprise mobile applications market has just been promoted to the big league.

The growth strategies for mobile start-ups these days in the enterprise mobile applications space should involve working closely with the wireless carriers, mobile device manufacturers, ERP vendors and mobile operating system developers. Mobile start-ups are going to need to get in the game quickly or be left behind.

"Sixty to seventy percent of the population have mobile devices" said Don Bulmer SAP VP industry relations, adding that mobile gear is the preferred communications and computing platform. "There are lots of opportunities for SAP," he said.

SAP users want to be able to use social networking sites such as Facebook to collaborate, said SAP executive board member Jim Hagemann Snabe. "Companies want to take advantage of these technologies without disrupting business," he said. Much of SAP's innovation focus will revolve around flexible extensions to core applications and processes, which can be developed and deployed quickly, via an on-demand or on-premise model, said Hegemann Snabe.

Mobile start-ups - Did you catch the model proposed by SAP? They want innovations (think mobile) that are flexible extensions to their core applications and processes that are available to customers in an on-demand model (SaaS).

Social networking is responsible for much of the huge growth in mobile data usage these days. Adding social networking to the enterprise market promises many opportunities for mobile applications companies as SAP has described. If the enterprise adopts mobile solutions with a social networking emphasis, you will quickly see the wireless carriers plunge into this market as well. Keep your eyes open!

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Marketing Consultant