Monday, March 15, 2010

Scrutinizing SAP’s Mobile Strategy from Managing Automation

On the website Managing Automation, they have an article this week by Stephanie Neil called Scrutinizing SAP's Mobility Strategy. Here is an excerpt, "... a quick search (on the SAP EcoHub) for ‘mobile infrastructure’ brings up Sybase, Antenna Software’s Concert development platform, and SkyConnect from Sky Technologies... I question whether or not SAP needs the same broad base of partners in mobility as it does in manufacturing. Most manufacturers are just starting to implement a wireless strategy, and since it is untapped terrain for them, they may just want a turnkey solution from SAP, not a menu of choices."

This is an interesting perspective. Neil seems to suggests that many SAP users (at least in manufacturing) would prefer just one designated turnkey SAP MEAP (mobile enterprise application platform) and that having a plethora of partner selections is not necessarily useful. The challenge I have with Stephanie's comments is that I believe she underestimates the number of mobile applications and their complexity. Different mobile applications and mobile business processes require different workflows and expertise that may not all be present in one mobile software vendor. It will take a number of years before mobile applications support many of the more niche business processes which is why there is a need today for many industry experts to supply mobile applications.

Neil concludes with the following, "...SAP’s next move should be to acquire a mobile infrastructure vendor upon which it can build a stable of wireless applications that fit into its — and its customers' — long-term mobile enterprise plan. The company can continue co-innovating, but it needs to lead the effort. SAP has a rare opportunity right now to shape an emerging market."

I will dodge the acquisition issue, but I agree with Neil that SAP should take the lead. I believe SAP users would ultimately benefit from a standardized methodology for connecting mobile devices to SAP and managing these connections.

Thanks Stephanie for a thought provoking article.

If you are one of the plethora of mobile application vendors supporting SAP users, please make sure you add your solution to the SAP Enterprise Mobility directory so others can learn about you.

Author Kevin Benedict
Mobile Strategy Consultant, Mobile Industry Analyst and Web 2.0 Marketing Expert

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