SAP’s “Platform Agnostic” Approach to Mobile Devices
Pete Graham was asked how many devices he had on him during an interview last week, Graham, director of financial solutions and mobility at SAP, listed them all: Windows 8 Phone; Apple iPhone and iPad; Samsung Galaxy Tab; and a BlackBerry Z10, Bold and a PlayBook to boot.
“You’ve got to have one from all the platforms,” Graham says, “because our customers use all these devices.”
That strategy is why Graham and SAP were front and center at the recent BlackBerry 10 (BB10) unveiling, and why SAP is likely to be at more and more mobility events in the future.
SAP announced three new apps it had developed for the BB10 platform, which should be GA in “late spring,” according to Graham. The three target both CFOs on the go as well as casual users (i.e. sales types) and tie into ERP 6.0 software: RealSpend (“a better way for financial people to manage budgets,” Graham says), Customer Financial Fact Sheet (shows when customers are paying bills, i.e. are they late paying invoices?) and CFO Vantage (“all of the information a CFO would want to look at, all in one place and on the go,” he says).
SAP’s development investment in BlackBerry and its do-or-die platform follows on the apps SAP developed for Microsoft’s Windows 8 mobile as well as SAP’s announced support for Windows 8 development on the SAP Mobile Platform, which was announced late last year.
As for the new BlackBerry 10 devices (the Z10 and Q10), Graham says there’s a lot of energy and excitement surrounding the revamped BlackBerry platform. He mentions the separation of work and personal environments (the BlackBerry Balance functionality), multitasking features and, of course, the same level of security that companies still mandating BlackBerry use among their employees require.
One app featured on the SAP Store—CRM Sales—spans all four platforms (Google Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows). A cursory look on the SAP Store shows the majority being multiplatform (with Apple’s iOS being most prominently developed for).
The plan going forward, Graham says, is to develop apps on the platforms where there’s a lot of interest. Or, as he puts it, “where the eyeballs go.”