SAP has entered into agreements with Adobe, Appcelerator and Sencha to provide users with an open mobile apps development framework for developing on the company’s mobile platform.
SAP says the collaboration will enable millions of developers to effectively build mobile apps based on their choice of client architectures — from native to hybrid web container to mobile web. Developers will be able to do so while leveraging an industry-leading enterprise mobile application platform from SAP.
“It’s a big hairy audacious goal,” says SAP ANZ’s head of mobility Andrew Fox. But he adds that the company is already there.
“Any developer in New Zealand with access to that technology can write an app that can be deployed to our platform,” says Fox. “People without in depth knowledge of SAP can go “I’ve got an app” and it’ll work with SAP.”
“By joining forces with leading mobile app development vendors like Adobe, Appcelerator and Sencha, we are making it easier for large communities of developers, in the millions, to innovate on our platform. We believe SAP is the only mobile platform provider delivering on the promise of an open platform architecture that supports innovative third-party development environments and tools, providing flexibility for customers to implement the right mobile app every time. SAP, customers, partners and the entire ecosystem now have a tremendous opportunity to rapidly produce millions of high quality apps using the tool of their choice,” says Sanjay Poonen, president, global solutions, SAP.
“To create innovative mobile apps, every company must leverage the creativity and capabilities of in-house developers and millions of developers in the wider mobile ecosystem,” says Poonen. “With our ‘Mobile 2.0’ strategy, we are opening up our unified platform to capture all the innovation that is possible in the mobile world. This advances our vision to bring consumer grade usability and innovation to unwired businesses.”
The idea is backed by research from IDC. “We are seeing rapid innovation in the mobile market, especially in application development environments, frameworks and methodologies,” says Stephen Drake, programme vice president, mobility and telecom, IDC. “It is critical for enterprise mobile applications platforms to support popular mobile application development environments and leverage the skills of millions of mobile app developers using these environments. This approach will provide buyers of these enterprise mobile application platforms with the flexibility required to implement a best-fit mobile strategy and future proof their investment.”
“Customers are asking for a unified mobility platform,” says Fox. That unified platform includes mobile device management and content management. “I’ve got about 30 live corporate apps on my tablet and phone. They all need updating. You need a management platform.”
Fox says the “mobile consumer” is also a part of the journey and gives the example of paying a utility bill as another way of reinforcing the importance of these mobile platforms. “In the connected world, that bill if a flag in your device’s screen and you pay for it with your electronic wallet,” he says, referring to SAP’s mobile commerce platform. The strategy, he says, is to group all those platforms together.
Fox says the company expects to have the unified mobile platform out in Q3 of this year. “We’ll continue to do core things like asset management and enterprise reporting tools,” he adds. “Our partners are more than welcome to develop their own versions.”
The company has also announced the intention to acquire Syclo, a provider of enterprise mobile applications, in a move that Fox says is “part of a longer term strategy”.
“With this acquisition, SAP adds momentum to our already powerful mobile portfolio, advancing our vision and leadership while accelerating our mobile apps,” says Poonen. “Syclo brings both domain-savvy expertise and industry-leading solutions, as recognised by customers and analysts. This will drive innovation and mobility in the workplace.”
Focusing exclusively on enterprise mobility solutions, Syclo has more than 600 customers in 39 countries across all major asset and mobile-intensive industries. SAP will acquire 100 percent of Syclo's equity and Syclo's solutions will become part of the SAP mobile solution portfolio, with Syclo’s employees to join SAP. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.