With that feedback coming in, a wide range of stand-alone apps has been created in almost every area of company, including a cafeteria app and a safety audit app for the massive newspaper production facility.
More apps are sure to come, Sendall said. "Absolutely, I keep pushing, especially on the advertising side, to ask 'what else can we do for you?'"
How SAP Employees Are Adopting Mobile Apps
At SAP, enterprise mobile apps aren't just tools sold to customers to help end users complete their own tasks. Instead, more than 60,000 SAP employees are themselves using in-house enterprise apps built by SAP IT to help them accomplish a wide range of work-related activities, from quickly filing expense reports, sending product details to customers during sales calls, or just finding out what's for lunch in the company cafeteria before going to meet co-workers.
The number of SAP employees using the company's mobile apps is expected to reach some 80,000 later this year.
"The idea is to make [people's] lives simple," Senthil Krishnapillai, vice president of development for SAP's Mobile Secure Group, told eWEEK.
SAP has been building enterprise mobile apps for its customers and its own users since 2010, but in the last few years, the company continued to expand the range of apps it offered and introduce new capabilities and services for larger numbers of mobile users, said Krishnapillai. "It is very organic in terms of how it spreads. It starts with SAP employees using [an app], then someone else sees it and wants to do it, too."
At SAP, employees and the company aren't waiting to adopt enterprise mobile apps. It's part of the company's mantra, said Krishnapillai. Much of the spread of the use of apps comes from employees who want to be able to do more while they are on the go, anywhere, without having to be chained to their office.
"Being able to submit the hours I worked this week at my leisure when I have time rather than going back to my PC and logging in is a cool thing," he said. "People like that they can do it on their mobile devices. We are seeing successes, so we are expanding it."
Many of the ideas for new apps come from SAP employees who share their business needs in SAP's Idea Place portal, where they can express their ideas, he said.
SAP employees can get the apps they want to use on their mobile devices through SAP's own app store, which is set up for SAP employees and allows them to download and install any apps that are approved by their managers.
For customers, SAP also sells similar private SAP Mobile Place app stores or enrolls them in SAP's public app stores where they can find apps that range across a wide variety of uses. More than 800 mobile apps are available from SAP for sales, service, HR, productivity, business analytics and more.
Among the SAP apps available to internal employees are SAP Wire, its version of WhatsApp; a lunch app that tells workers about meals each day in the cafeteria; CRM apps; a carpooling app; a travel approval app; risk and governance apps and sales navigation apps that can help send information to customers about products. Workers can also use cloud apps like Concur for travel and expenses, as well as for travel booking.
"It's amazing because it ties all these things together," said Krishnapillai. "A person can fly from one place to another and come back and never have to file an expense report because it is all automatically captured and reported. It's like our bread and butter."
Packaging Company Caraustar Moving to Mobile Apps
Other companies, meanwhile, are just getting started on the road to embracing mobile apps, but already see the promise and potential benefits of adopting them.
Tom Ritter, vice president of IT at Caraustar Industries, which manufactures and sells 100 percent recycled paperboard packaging products, told eWEEK that his company is planning to begin deploying mobile apps for about 1,500 employees starting this year.