Monday, April 12, 2010

Everyone Wants A Piece of SAP Enterprise Mobility!

I was surprised to read today that SAP's ECM (enterprise content management) partner Open Text Corp. now has a mobile applications strategy.  "This move is part of a strategy designed to help organizations harness the power of today’s mobile workforce in an effort to increase productivity."

The solution is called Open Text Everywhere and it is designed to make the entire Open Text ECM Suite available through mobile devices.  This move by Open Text highlights an interesting evolution in the mobile ecosystem around SAP.  A number of SAP's partners are producing mobile applications that only work if you buy their products.  There is nothing wrong with that strategy, but it does add confusion to companies interested in general SAP enterprise mobility.  Now there are at least four categories of mobile applications for SAP customers:
  1. MEAPs (mobile enterprise application platforms) - Enables the user to develop, customize and support many different mobile applications and mobile devices on one platform (e.g. Sybase, Sky Technologies, etc.).
  2. Mobile micro-applications - Lightweight mobile applications typically available from App stores that are specific to particular limited business processes in SAP (e.g. Vivido Labs, Leapfactor, etc.).
  3. Mobile solutions that are designed to work primarily with a specific vendor product (e.g. ClickSoftware, Syclo, Open Text, etc.).
  4. Out of the box mobile applications (email, calendars, etc.).
There may be more mobile application categories, so let me know which ones I missed.

I wonder how committed companies like Open Text are to mobility?  Are they serious, or are they just trying to excite an exciteable analyst?  Initially Open Text is only going to support BlackBerrys, but claims a long term commitment to supporting other mobile devices.  They plan to release applications that provide a comprehensive view of business processes, content and workplace social collaboration (as long as it involves their product).  Here is the list of mobile applications they are planning to develop:
  • Manage everywhere for documents and content.
  • Engage everywhere focusing on process workflows.
  • Collaboration everywhere using social media.
Although the product descriptions sound general, I expect they will only function with Open Text products.  That means SAP users who want these functions, that are not Open Text customers, will need to search for other mobile application vendors.

Kevin Benedict
Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009
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.