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With the ever predictable siren for the ‘year of mobile’ it may have finally arrived. While it has been more of a progression than an overnight sensation there have been some fairly significant recent events that have propelled the market forward. We finally have the mobile devices that are capable of supporting engaging mobile applications and with the advent of the tablet we a truly mobile device with sufficient display real estate. Another major development – that has previously been woefully absent – has been the support and direct investment in mobile solutions by the larger enterprise software vendor community. While that challenge remains acute, SAP, the leading ERP vendor, is making it very clear that mobility represents a major anchor of their most recent transformation. While enterprise software vendors have historically touted mobile strategies and capabilities these (SAP’s included) could largely be chalked up to either vapor ware or extremely poorly designed solutions.
With the acquisition of Sybase in 2010 and more recently of Syclo, SAP is upping the ante. Having spent the last two days at SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW event one thing is clear: no one at SAP dares mention ERP. While this ‘ERP disassociation’ has evolved as a message and strategy over the past several years, it clearly manifested itself at this event. Once again, following the footsteps of R3 and Netweaver, among others, SAP is attempting to ‘innovate without disrupting’. That SAP struggled in identifying and executing its most recent transformation is perhaps an overstatement. However, the usability of SAP’s core solutions lagged emerging competitors resulting in lower utility of the overall platform. In addition, the gaps in its cloud services were increasingly evident. Recognizing these deficiencies is resulting in one of the most ambitious transformations of SAP.
The realization of this transformation is rooted in three strategic thrusts: the cloud, HANA in-memory computing and…mobility. SAP recognizes that while the original value proposition of integrated enterprise platforms may still be relevant, the articulation of that strategy has evolved considerably. The ERP gold rush of the late 90’s is over. Moreover the need for modernizing traditional – perhaps even legacy – ERP solutions is more apparent than ever before. What SAP is attempting to accomplish – especially with mobile – is to transform business processes by making critical business data intelligence more available, in real time, on virtually any platform, to broader groups of highly distributed users through a secure and scalable architecture.
Having tracking enterprise mobility solutions over the past decade, VDC recognizes the value and importance of ‘mobilizing’ key enterprise assets. In fact, we have long argued that for the enterprise mobility market to scale beyond point specific line of business applications common across many industries, significant investments and commitments from major enterprise software vendors would be required. To better track and validate this opportunity, VDC is launching a new ‘Voice of the Customer: Bringing Mobility to Enterprise Applications’ research service. This service is designed to provide critical information surrounding the opportunities and challenges around introducing mobility into enterprise organizations from the decision maker’s perspective.