As the SAP’s tagline says “The Best-Run Businesses Run SAP”, the last few decades have seen, large companies investing in building Enterprise Systems and, especially, getting SAP systems implemented for their core functions. The future is expected to experience a revolution around mobility, wherein, more companies will embrace mobile and related technologies for their business operations.
So, how is a SAP merging, the mobility aspect with it, so that the enterprises can reap benefits out of these, seamlessly?
This article highlights SAP’s mobile enterprise solutions and the right technology option to choose for your enterprise.
Enterprise Mobile Management Solution
Afaria, which is the name of SAP’s enterprise mobility management solution, combines the aspects of mobile device management and mobile application management technology. This solution assists managing and securing mobile devices, across platforms. Afaria is available, either, via the cloud, using Amazon Web Services or as on-premise deployment, which the organizations can choose from. Afaria helps in:
- Managing all the applications and devices, centrally, using real-time SAP Business Objects analytics, reporting to provide details around licenses, device status etc.
- Device independence, as the solution is scalable across multiple devices.
- Protecting devices and data, using advanced security features, such as native lock and wipe, password enforcement, gated access, two-factor authentication etc. Since, it makes it easy to secure and wipe data, it also enables organizations implement its BYOD strategy, across devices securely.
Custom Development using SAP NetWeaver Gateway
The NetWeaver gateway, which comes along with SAP enterprise edition, can be used, directly, to build custom mobile applications that communicates with the SAP server. In this case, the Open Data Protocol (OData) services, which are exposed from NW gateway, are consumed directly by the devices. However, this is not a SAP recommended way of developing mobile application. SAP recommends specifically to build mobility solutions on SAP Mobile Platform.
SAP Mobile Platform (SMP)
This is SAP’s mobile application development platform which allows us to quickly build and deploy mobile applications across a range of mobile devices.This is a middleware platform, which enables users to connect the existing enterprise systems or applications with the mobile devices. This development platform is available on-premise or in the cloud and offers variety of resources and connections to facilitate the development process.
Packaged Mobile Applications (SAP Fiori)
SAP has developed a collection of pre-built mobile applications, which is simple and provides you better user experience. These pre-built applications are delivered via the SAP Store and can also be customized as per the need. The applications are available in line with the SAP enterprise solution across commonly used business functions like Finance, HR, Sales & Marketing, Procurement, Manufacturing, Supply Chain etc. and industries like Retail, Insurance etc.
The above being already in place, SAP is looking at further developments in the mobility space with innovations across the service spectrum as mentioned below. Some of the basics are already in place and some are planned for the future.
1. Development and Deployment
- Provide additional SDK tools and enhanced SDK additions (MAF)
- Provide integrated Cordova plugin known as Kapsel and offline support for it
- OData offline support
- Performance enhancements
- Scalability, in terms of enterprise and solution manager integration
- Extended support for additional authentication provider
- Enhancement to support any mobile deployment
Having mentioned the mobile driven efforts from SAP, it becomes quite obvious that SAP is trying to integrate enterprise mobility solutions to seamlessly integrate with its Enterprise Edition.
Comparison of SMP and SAP Fiori
What’s the Right Approach?
In essence, the purpose of the two offerings is quite different. SMP provides a platform for creating, deploying and managing mobile applications, while SAP Fiori is a collection of web apps that work on mobile devices and network connected desktops/laptops. It is easier to deploy and use Fiori apps than the SMP, however it is constrained on the security side and the number of pre-built apps available.
Therefore, it is up to the “Best-Run Businesses” to make a decision on the mobility needs, in particular, and make an informed choice on which one of the two would best suit their mobility requirements. The recommendation shall be to evaluate the best technology suited for your enterprise, rather than trying to force fit both.
SAP Expert and Pre-Sales Manager