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By Sanjay Poonen and Akash Agarwal

Last November Business Insider said SAP has a crazy ambition. In fact, they called our plan to make SAP bigger in mobile than Apple ‘outrageous.’  It may seem outrageous to some, but there’s truth to the proverb: where there’s no vision, the people perish.  We dream big at SAP – and we believe there is a tangible opportunity for our company to be the Apple or Samsung of Enterprise Mobility.

Analysts have already rated SAP the leader in the Enterprise Mobility market today based on the breadth of our solutions, the size of our revenue and the number of customers in this market, but we’re only just getting started.  Our goal is to build a billion dollar business in Enterprise Mobility, touch over a billion users through mobile solutions, and offer our development platform (HANA and Mobile) to millions of developers so they can build a bevy of new mobile business apps – bringing productivity and delightful experiences to employees, customers, and customers’ customers (B2B2C). 

To do this, we will partner with all players within the Enterprise Mobility Ecosystem. The good news is that there’s huge opportunity for all partners  –  from mobile security, to mobile applications to machine-2-machine (M2M) technology and the Internet of Things.  In this two-part blog, we’ll outline the Enterprise Mobility Ecosystem and explain its importance to SAP’s vision and success. In Part 1, we’ll discuss how the ecosystem leads to innovation on the platform; Part 2 covers our go-to-market vision.

The picture above shows how it all fits together starting with the Device Operating Systems and OEMs at the center. Because we believe the mobile desktop will be a heterogeneous world for years to come, it’s crucial that innovation flourishes across iOS, Android, Windows8, Blackberry and other operating systems.  We’re working closely with Apple, Google, Microsoft, and RIM, as well as hardware OEMs such as Samsung, HTC, ZTE, ARM, Qualcomm, Intel, Lenovo, Huawei, Motorola, and Nokia, among others. Our guiding force, the North Star on our roadmap, is to go where customers, partners and developers are going in their use of mobility. For device OS support, we have committed to support the leading OSes on the day a new version is announced to the market.  Mobile moves fast, so must SAP! 

Now let’s have a quick look at the Telco Operators and Service Providers, an extremely important stakeholder group for us. With SAP’s enviable mobile portfolio that stretches from Mobile Security, Mobile App Platform to Mobile Apps and Messaging Services, we can support all the major Telcos of the world with either a managed service or a reseller model.  Just to give you a sense of how important the Telco carriers are to the Mobility market, look at the chart below, courtesy of Wikipedia that outlines by country the number of wireless subscribers for the top 30 Telcos.  Granted these are wireless consumer subscribers, but a number of those consumer subscribers in a BYOD world are now employees of a company in need of a mobile security solution, or a set of enterprise mobile apps.

Furthermore, we’d like to highlight the massive business opportunity in the area of machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, an area where we are teaming up with the Telcos and the Telco infrastructure players to build the industry’s best solutions for the evolving world of the Internet of Things.  An excellent example is our strategic partnership with Ericsson which we announced at the Mobile World Congress in February, 2013.  This unique partnership allows us to deliver a connected cloud-based offering to operators who in turn can offer a complete package of services to businesses such as soft drink manufacturers building smart vending machines.  One Telco that has chosen to strategically partner with SAP in the M2M area is Rogers in Canada, a beautiful use-case of a solution that brings together Big Data and Mobile in the Cloud.

Software and Hardware Vendors (ISV, IHV) in the infrastructure space are natural partners for SAP. Security, virtualization and system and network management are all critical to enterprise success because managed mobility services help businesses convert customer interactions into revenue opportunities and improve employee productivity with mobile applications. We welcome every infrastructure player to partner with SAP in mobility because it is going to impact their business or provide an opportunity for them to extend into entirely new worlds.  We are even open to licensing our market-leading Mobile App Platform to competing applications companies in our aspiration to become the de-facto mobile platform for all enterprise needs.

A few examples of companies that have embraced SAP’s mobility portfolio include CA Technologies who are planning on SAP Afaria being OEM-ed as their MDM solution, as well as Hitachi which is OEM-ing SAP Afaria for device management. We’re also working with HP to deliver managed mobility services that help businesses convert customer interactions into revenue opportunities and improve employee productivity with mobile applications. HP’s Managed Mobility Services for the SAP Mobile Platform, for example, helps clients visualize, plan, build, operate and secure mobile applications quickly and easily.  We have about 70+ mobile ITO and OEM partners today.

Partnerships with ISVs aren’t limited to big vendors, by the way. We often scour the industry for pioneering startups that extend the breadth of our solution and bring best-of-breed innovation to our customers.  We’re really excited about our partnership with Mocana, for example, one of the more innovative mobile security start-ups. At SAPPHIRE 2013 last month, we announced an agreement to resell their leading mobile security product, SAP Mobile App Protection by Mocana, which provides secure mobile app management capabilities extending the suite of enterprise mobility management (EMM) products from SAP.  Customers will benefit from the ability to add fine-grained usage and security policies to iOS and Android apps in a matter of seconds, without having to write any code. This partnership will help customers expedite deployment of secure mobile apps, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services, retail, healthcare and government.

Outrageous or not, our plan is about enabling the development and management of mobile apps together with our partners, and we’re on track to win! In the next blog we’ll look at the go to market model with our VAR & Distributor partnerships, system integrators, app development and SAP Store, closing with our cloud infrastructure scenario.

Click here to read part 2 of SAP’s bold plan to empower the Enterprise Mobility Ecosystem.

Sanjay Poonen is President and Corporate Officer, Technology Solutions and Mobile Division at SAP, and can be reached @spoonen on Twitter.  Akash Agarwal is Group VP & Head of Business Development, Mobile Ecosystems at SAP, and can be reached at @Akash_agarwal, if you’re interested in partnering with @SAPMobile.

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