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SAP customers need to know more about SAP’s enterprise mobility product roadmaps, costs and how other customers are implementing the software to both get a better understanding of SAP’s strategy and a more favorable impression of it.
Those findings are from an ASUG Research Services survey, in which 306 targeted ASUG members weighed in with their thoughts on SAP’s mobility strategy.
The importance of customers understanding SAP’s mobile product roadmap and buying into that vision can’t be underestimated. A total of 82 percent of the survey respondents said they had plans to mobilize business processes in one or more areas this year.
“We recognized the platform we were on was not going to be able to change and adapt and respond,” said one customer interviewed by ASUGNews. “It’s not a question of if one moves, but when. How can we impress our own suppliers by moving early and aggressively?”
But even with all that urgency, there are still many questions and a certain level of ambivalence in the customer base about SAP’s mobility strategy. Add to that fact that many customers who weighed in on this survey still don’t know what software or what approach they will use to mobilize business applications.
SAP says it hears these concerns. “In reviewing your responses to the survey, we take to heart that SAP can improve the articulation of our multi-faceted strategy, and we will follow up with specific sessions to discuss the next chapter in our mobile strategy,” SAP stated in a written response to the ASUG Research Services findings.
SAP added: “Besides simplifying our message to our customers and partners on mobile strategy, it’s also important that we help our customers and partners address key issues that are precursors to deciding which parts of SAP’s portfolio make the most sense.”
Where Does SAP Mobility Stand?
The majority of those surveyed believe that SAP is on par with (about 43 percent) or ahead of (16 percent) other mobile enterprise application vendors. But a significant number—41 percent—believe SAP needs to catch up on features with other point-solution mobile vendors.
However, our data shows that with a better understanding of SAP’s mobile strategy comes a better impression of that strategy.
More than half (55 percent) of those who indicated a very good understanding of SAP’s mobile strategy also believe that SAP is a leader in the mobility market. On the other end, just 6 percent of those who said they had a poor understanding of SAP’s mobile strategy believe SAP is a mobile leader.
So what would help alleviate this situation? Customers continue to request more information on SAP product roadmaps, costs and customer implementations in order to claim a better understanding of SAP’s mobility strategy.
And customers need that information cadence in order to be more confident that SAP is presenting them the leading enterprise mobility strategy in the market. One respondent summarized the sentiments of many in calling for “less sales speak in SAP collateral, and more language that actually means something.”
What’s Hot, What’s Not
Of its current mobile products, SAP’s Fiori strategy seems to be catching on. A little more than half of those respondents said they were using out-of-the-box SAP products to mobilize those processes, with SAP’s Fiori products being the clear favorite. SAP’s Fiori apps expose some of most widely used functions in the Business Suite on a consumer-grade user interface.
And a little less than half were also using third-party products to accomplish those goals—with Salesforce.com being the favorite.
But many respondents haven’t yet decided how they will initially mobilize those processes. A total of 28 percent of the 233 respondents who were going to do mobile projects this year indicated that they didn’t know whether they were going to use out-of-the-box software to do so. Another 20 percent of the 91 respondents who weighed in on the third-party applications question didn’t know either.
Chief Challenges to Mobile Software Rollouts
Concern #1: Cost
Cost is one of the biggest challenges in rolling out SAP mobile software, survey respondents indicated. “Mobility can be expensive, not just from buying devices and having monthly data plans, but from the perspective of what SAP is offering,” an ASUG member and SAP customer stated. “They don’t make it cost friendly for the enterprise.”
Concern #2: Integration with SAP Backend
Integrating mobile software with the SAP on-premise system was a big concern for 44 percent of the 233 people who weighed in on the challenges question. “We wanted people to have accurate data, and the only way to have really accurate data is to have access to SAP,” one customer said.
Concern #3: Prioritizing Application Development and Delivery
With so much demand for mobile software, SAP professionals are struggling to prioritize application development and delivery—44 percent of respondents ranked it as a top challenge. Customers interviewed by ASUGNews shared advice on their rollouts. One customer said that they rolled out a mobile process to its sales force to anticipate the needs of its suppliers.
Keeping Up with Mobility
Customers recognize that SAP has a tough gig: Mobility is vastly different than it was three years—or even three months—ago. Keeping pace with something that seems to change constantly is challenging, to say the least.
But with better information and more recognition of the current strategy’s shortcomings, customers do trust SAP to provide them with a strategy that can keep pace and carry them forward. When asked about his perception of SAP’s mobility strategy, an ASUG member and SAP customer said: “I don’t know if it’s going to be the smoothest ride. But I am confident we’ll be able to stay with SAP and get there.”