Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
5/18/2010
07:40 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Global CIO: How SAP Is Leading The Mobile-Enterprise Revolution

While all IT companies say mobile's strategically vital, SAP is bullishly positioning itself to reap the rewards of a leadership position. See the latest in our SAP Week coverage.

As SAP begins to roll out some powerful new technologies that have been gestating for multiple years, the company is simultaneously racing to position itself as the leader of the mobile business revolution by not only assembling its own related technologies and services but also optimizing its vaunted global partner ecosystem for mobile acceleration and regional customization.

"On enterprise mobility, our customers are banging down our doors and saying, 'We need this now!' " said Singh Mecker, global head of SAP's Ecosystem and Partner Group. "Business users have seen the capability of mobile in their personal lives, and now, whether for use in real-time inventory optimization or pipeline management, they want constant access to actionable information, not just data.

"Business consumers are demanding this type of information," Mecker said, "and the only way to achieve that is mobile."

At the company's Sapphire global customer and partner conference this week—with a reported 50,000 attendees at simultaneous events in Frankfurt, Germany and Orland, Florida—SAP's top executives have been relentless in describing how mobile devices are rapidly becoming the preeminent computing platform worldwide, rather than being merely a portable extension of some of what a PC can deliver.

Co-CEO Bill McDermott was particularly effusive about the impact of mobile applications and mobile information, particularly in combination with the delivery of real-time information that SAP says it is close to being able to deliver.

The reason McDermott's perspective on this is so important—and the reason why I chose to use the somewhat-loaded term "Mobile Revolution" in the headline—is that he wasn't talking about cool little apps or longer battery life but rather the power to turn corporate cultures upside down and drive much-needed transformations in companies that are process-centric but need to become customer-centric.

"Real-time information changes cultures," McDermott said in his keynote talk Tuesday morning. "And so the concept of the real-time enterprise is not just about business—the big idea is that it's about people. And so is the unwiring of the enterprise. In China, consumers are leading the way to unleash the power of mobile—they've skipped the PC generation altogether.

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"And so we believe mobile is the new desktop."

Adding that SAP has begun referring to enterprise workers as business consumers, McDermott said mobility apps and devices, powered by real-time analytics, can create enormous value for companies by "extending their end-to-end processes closer to point of action":

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