SAP’s Bold Plan to Empower the Enterprise Mobility Ecosystem, Part 2

The first blog in this series was about enabling innovation on our mobile platforms together with the leading device OS & OEMs, Telco Carriers and software and hardware vendors. This part explains how we take this innovation to market together with our Ecosystem.

By Sanjay Poonen and Akash Agarwal

Some of the most important players in the ecosystem are value-added resellers (VARs) and distributors like Ingram Micro, Avnet, Tech Data, CDW, Insight and many others in all regions of the world.

These partners bring distribution reach and are increasingly focused on the Mobility, Big Data and Cloud opportunity.  Take Ingram Micro, for example, which recently acquired BrightPoint in a bold move to extend their leadership into the Mobility market.  We’ve had a long-standing partnership with them in both our Applications (ERP) and Analytics (BI) businesses, so it made sense for us to extend that partnership also into Enterprise Mobility  because it benefits small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

SMBs are vital contributors to the economy, but they face a number of challenges such as attracting new customers, growing revenue or dealing with uncertain economic conditions. Mobile applications can help SMBs deal with these challenges by making it easier to work in the field, to grow revenue by providing a more personalized customer experience or to improve customer self-service.

However, there is no expansion without close engagement with System Integrators – they have made SAP what we are today in the applications and analytics market!  We see the same opportunity in mobility.  Not only are we leveraging their market presence for a joint go-to-market approach, but we want them to implement our industry-leading mobile platform for building exciting new apps.

Our DNA is industry-driven, and system integrators like Wipro or Infosys often work hand-in-glove with our development teams to bring industry-based apps to the market.Together we can build packaged applications orcreate apps that snap together like Lego blocks on our platform. System Integrators are helping us develop mobile apps that can be rinsed and repeated thousands of times such as the Mobile Field Service and Mobile Enterprise Asset Management apps for asset intensive industries.  We found that a company named Syclo was building those apps better than anyone else using the SAP Mobile Platform, so we acquired them. In the meantime, we’ve seen a torrent of interest by our system integrator friends in implementing this solution where the backend could be SAP EAM or IBM Maximo.

It is a priority for us to enable System Integrators like Accenture, IBM Global Services, CapGemini, Deloitte, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, HCL, CSC, and many other global and regional boutiques, along with the new breed of design consulting firms. After all, our goal is to see thousands of apps in the Mobile Solutions section of the SAP Store. Of those, maybe 20% will be built by SAP and 80% by our partner ecosystem. In the mobile boom, there is no way that SAP alone can fulfill all of the unique app needs of companies and consumers, not even those of our existing customers. There are thousands of software companies or web shops out there, and we want all of them to build apps with our technologies.

Last year at SAPPHIRE we launched a partner program giving companies and developers easy access to our full portfolio of mobile technologies, enabling them to publish their apps to the SAP Store for promotion, at almost no upfront cost. We also frequently run app contests where partners can compete on the best app. Just recently we launched contests together with Autodesk, RIM (for bb 10) and in the Retail industry. The adoption we’ve seen since is simply amazing: more than 250 partners in 40 countries around the world are building apps now, and we’re adding almost two partners per working day. It’s always exciting to go to the SAP Store and check out the new apps released by our partners, especially as each one of them increases the value of the SAP platform for our customers.

Last but not least, let’s look at our Cloud Computing infrastructure. Players like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, VMWare, vCloud and others will play a significant part in the future of the unwired world, so we are partnering with them to help our customers lower their costs. Last month at SAPPHIRE 2013 we announced a seminal partnership with Amazon AWS when we launched SAP MobileSecure, and Afaria, our Mobile Device Management product in the AWS cloud at the astonishing price of 1 Euro per device per month.That’s the lowest TCO solution on one of the most scalable, reliable infrastructures as a service in the industry. Customers and partners were shocked, and many said we were rocking the mobile industry in a big way by lowering cost. Andy Jassy, Head of AWS, endorsed our partnership via video at SAPPHIRE 2013. We view this as a win-win for SAP and Amazon – an example of two great brands partnering together on affordable, scalable and reliable Mobile Secure solutions.

So why is the Enterprise Mobility Ecosystem so important? Because our partners are opening the floodgates and helping us drive the mobile revolution that will get a billion people to use our software by 2015.

At a recent panel discussion with the CEO of Rogers, an innovative Telco in Canada, we were discussing our partnership in the area of M2M (machine to machine). I couldn’t resist telling him that I never thought the day would come when a Telco provider would hold a press conference and the only enterprise software vendor on their panel considered crucial to their success in M2M would be SAP! Well, this is all part of our “outrageous plan,” and we’re right on track to make it happen!

Sanjay Poonen is President and Corporate Officer, Technology Solutions and Mobile Division at SAP, and can be reached @spoonen on Twitter. Akash Agarwal is Group VP & Head of Business Development, Mobile Ecosystems at SAP, and can be reached at @akash_agarwal, if you’re interested in partnering with @SAPMobile.

This post originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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