SAP Aims Mobile Platform 3.0 at the Enterprise

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-05-22
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SAP Aims Mobile Platform 3.0 at the Enterprise

SAP announced the release of SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 and also noted that energy company National Grid has standardized on the platform for building and managing new mobile apps.

The new release features an open standards-based platform architecture and one common software development kit (SDK). SAP Mobile Platform 3.0's architecture embraces a "bring-your-own-tools" (BYOT) strategy through integration with third-party development tools.

Also with the new release, SAP completes the unification of its mobile app development platform frameworks. It uses Open Data (OData) Protocol APIs and the open-source Apache Cordova software, which is a cross-platform mobile development environment supported by many vendors including Microsoft.

"While there are many new vendors in the enterprise mobility space contributing to customer choice, they also introduce unwanted complexity," said Dirk Boessmann, senior vice president of mobile development at SAP, in a statement. "SAP has long been a leader in the mobile industry and we now see the need to simplify for the customer. SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 makes it easy to build and secure mobile apps for an amazing user experience, while providing unparalleled deployment flexibility. Mobile is not a choice but an imperative and I am proud to say that we are ushering in the next generation of mobile."

Meanwhile, National Grid, one of the largest privately owned utility businesses in the world, is looking to help its more than 1,500 National Grid field engineers ensure that electricity and gas transmission is well-maintained and uncompromised. To do so, it has implemented an updated mobile portfolio, which includes SAP Mobile Platform 3.0, SAP Afaria and the SAP Work Manager mobile app. National Grid's new mobile iOS solution increases the efficiency and ensures the safety of its workers.

National Grid owns and operates the electricity and gas transmission network in the United Kingdom, which includes overhead lines, underground cables and pipes, substations and compressor stations. In addition to the aforementioned solutions from the SAP mobile solutions portfolio, National Grid also employs the SAP Mobile Secure solution for mobile device and application management. National Grid's new mobile iOS solution, which integrates into its enterprise asset management (EAM) system, provides and captures details of scheduled and non-scheduled work orders, as well as runs a mobile timesheet solution. The company has defined a list of more than 25 mobile apps in its development pipeline.

"National Grid is responsible for keeping the lights on for millions of customers in the UK," said Tina Sands, head of information services for National Grid in the U.K., in a statement. "Our previous mobile solution, which was critical for field engineers to maintain electricity and gas transmission assets without disruption, was implemented in 2003 and needed to be replaced. This was a complex task, but we and our partners identified the SAP portfolio as the best mobile solution and service and we were able to make the transformation with minimum disruption.

"Our new mobile solution powered by SAP delivers an incredibly powerful but simple user experience for our field engineers, so they can focus on their day jobs. We have done this by combining core business functionality with enhanced capabilities, like taking photographs at the point-of-work and on-demand access to asset and work history, which dramatically improve decision-making and cost savings."

SAP Aims Mobile Platform 3.0 at the Enterprise

SAP officials said with the availability of the new release, SAP customers will soon be able to access existing and custom-built SAP Fiori apps through SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 via the SDK or the SAP Fiori Client mobile app. Additionally, updated versions of SAP Work Manager, SAP Inventory Manager and SAP CRM Service Manager mobile apps are planned to be available soon on the SAP Mobile Platform 3.0.

Through the power of the new SAP Mobile Platform, SAP Work Manager 6.1 is intended to have added functionality, including geographic information system (GIS) and 3D visualization, enterprise resource planning (ERP) customer service and crew management integration. In SAP Inventory Manager 4.0, support is planned to be added for Android, iOS and Windows 8 to match the native device and offline support seen in SAP Work Manager and SAP CRM Service Manager. By leveraging the new open UI SDK for SAP Mobile Platform, complex business processes are aimed at getting simplified user experiences, such as allowing users to interact with Esri mobile GIS within SAP Work Manager, SAP said.

"Mobile is all about the user experience and its ubiquity — it's like the air we breathe, it's everywhere," said Rick Costanzo, executive vice president and general manager of Global Mobility Solutions at SAP, in a statement. "We have been on a long, steady climb in mobile for more than 15 years, making the latest release of SAP Mobile Platform very special as it embodies the best innovations and lessons learned along the way in our journey.

"For a leading brand like National Grid to run such a critical part of its business on our platform demonstrates the unmatched scalability, stability and flexibility it brings to customers. We also already have nearly 150 leading partners running or moving to version 3.0, allowing more and more customers to simplify and unify through the SAP mobile experience."

A free trial of SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 is available on the SAP Community Network in the developer center for SAP Mobile Platform. A free mobile development course is also available on the openSAP platform.

The release of the SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 comes on the heels of the expansion of a global partnership between Microsoft and SAP AG to deliver new cloud, data and mobile solutions to help improve employee productivity, enhance workforce mobility, and drive increased business value for customers and partners.

This announcement extended the companies' long-term partnership in three critical areas: enterprise cloud computing with SAP applications certification for Microsoft Azure; improved interoperability between data from SAP applications and Microsoft Office, including general availability of connectivity between SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions and Microsoft's Power BI offering; and mobile productivity with expanded development and support for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft and SAP said they plan to help customers conduct business anywhere and any time by developing and co-marketing SAP mobile apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. These new applications will be managed and secured by the SAP Mobile Secure portfolio or Windows Intune.

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