Embracing Mobile Solutions... Why Shy?
Mobile solution adoption by enterprises is on the rise, but not at a pace such new highly potent technology would normally see. There are evident factors driving this slow cautious trend. SAP has consolidated its position as a leader in the Mobile platform space. How has it done and what is it up to next? And, more importantly how will this move from SAP help itself and its ecosystem that partners like Infosys are part of, to offer greater confidence to enterprises in embracing Mobilization?
More than 700,000 active apps are hosted on Appstore at present. It is observed that business apps are among the fastest growing category. One research has found that enterprise apps have doubled during the one-year period till q1/2012, while another estimates that the world-wide enterprise apps market will hit almost $8b by 2015, with about 80% of the Fortune 500 enterprises embracing mobile solutions by 2012-13. While all this indeed point to a very positive and healthy outlook for the world of Mobile Solutions, this space is not spared of challenges - some of them very fundamental, at that.
Enterprises have now begun to tell consumer apps from employee apps from analytics apps and so on, and the need to appreciate the difference in the context of how the core business solution for each of those is implemented (backend). However, more often than not, many enterprises are still only dipping their toe slowly in the water of mobility, venturing only so far as simple workflow or approval apps. Several factors are in play. Here's some:
- Unclear technology options or complexity due to heterogeneous environments
- Absence of a body to conceptualize and develop mobile strategies for the business.
- Relatively low level of awareness of ROI on mobile solutions or to build a case for it.
- Unclear prioritization of investment between B2C, B2E (employees), B2B and so on.
- Lack of incentive to embrace change in the user community.
Addressing the technology challenge, SAP, through a series of strategic acquisition moves of Sybase and Syclo, over the last 2 years has nudged its way to the top of both Mobile App Platforms and in the market share for Mobile Enterprise Management at just over 16%.
While each of these acquired platforms individually addresses specific segments of the market (Sybase Unwired Platform for B2E & B2B, mCommerce for B2C, Syclo/Agentry for B2E & B2B) very strongly, the acquisition presented a view too complex for enterprises to quickly embrace and adopt them. During the last several months, however, in a move typical of this business software giant, SAP came up with what it called as Platform Unification Roadmap. The objective of this roadmap was several folds:
- Offer a super set of functionalities of those separate platforms
- Offer a clear upgrade path to the latest release
- Offer an integrated B2C, B2B, B2E platform capability
- Offer possibility to deploy apps on-premise or on-cloud
According to SAP, there will eventually be, at the end of this unification road, only one platform namely the SAP Mobile Platform or SMP, supported on top of the Sybase365 Messaging Infrastructure and also have integration possibilities with eco-system tools & SDK such as Sencha, Appcelerator and PhoneGap.
Together, this offers a truly integrated and effective platform for enterprises to address their multiple market/user segments at the same time. This also makes it more efficient for enterprises paving way for them to engage with end-to-end consulting partners, like Infosys, to avail a typical 3-in-a-box offering of mobile strategy consulting, solution architecting, and technology implementation, to alleviate some of those factors dithering a faster adoption of mobile solutions.