Wednesday, March 03, 2010

SAP Mobility Challenge, Part 3

Systems Integrators represent a significant sales channel for SAP. Systems Integrators often have resources assigned to various SAP upgrades, integrations, customization and development projects onsite at a SAP customer's location. Often it is the systems integrators who first hear of upcoming sales opportunities and business requirements. SIs are very interested in SAP enterprise mobility (there is even a new Linkedin Group called SAP Enterprise Mobility) as it is seen as a major growth area. Here in lies the challenge.

Since as was discussed in Part 2 of this series, different groups within SAP are providing different mobile solution recommendations, the SI is going to be frustrated. They want to know specifically what mobile solution is recommended and where they can offer value by implementing it. The SI is not going to train on all possible SAP mobility solutions. They want to get trained on a mobile solution that has the maximum reusability across as many different SAP customers and business processes as possible to keep their costs as low as possible. They will not want to learn one mobile solution for EAM (enterprise asset management), another for workforce optimization and another for mobile CRM, etc.

Systems Integrators will want a MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) that they can use broadly to design, develop, deploy and support mobile extensions to existing SAP business processes. In addition, once you start supporting field operations outside the four walls of the enterprise it is common that companies have unique business processes in place. Often these processes, methodologies and techniques provide competitive advantages. If the SAP customer wants to continue these practices then a customized mobile software application for field operations will be necessary. This necessitates a MEAP that can be used by the SI to develop powerful customized mobile applications.

Another challenge is that some of the mobile solutions recommended by various groups in SAP are focused on mobilizing the vendor's specific business applications and supported business processes, not necessarily SAP. You may have an architecture like the following, SAP=>Vertical Application=>Mobile Solution. This may be effective for the vertical application vendor, but does not help the system integrator that wants a MEAP that can be used widely across the entire SAP environment where there are a multitude of business processes and customization requirements.

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Author Kevin Benedict

Mobility Consultant, Wireless Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert and as such I work with, and have worked with, many of the companies mentioned in my articles.