SAP Builds Out Mobile Road

Looking to build on its fast-growing mobile business, SAP this week announced several upgrades and new products in its lineup. The announcements include a new version of the SAP NetWeaver platform, as well as updates to SAP xApps composite applications for mobile business suite.

SAP said its mobile business has grown over 50 percent year over year to over 850 customers.

The new version of SAP NetWeaver Mobile, due in November on a restricted basis, is designed to help companies take advantage of SOA  for an integrated solution, according to SAP.

Customers and SAP partners can use the new mobile foundation to more easily build applications that scale and adapt to evolving business needs. SAP said the NetWeaver platform speeds the time it takes to build applications that give mobile workers access to functionality from both SAP and non-SAP applications.

“We find a lot of customers have some SAP in their backend, but also legacy systems,” Sami Muneer, SAP’s senior director for solutions marketing, told “They want SAP to provide the integration and pull all the information together.”

Mobile is becoming an increasingly important component of enterprise’s integration strategy. Muneer said three years ago corporate customers were more inclined to ask for specific mobile applications, such as those for sales. “Now CIOs are realizing, as more divisions rely on mobile, it’s like the information silos in the 1990s,” said Muneer. “They want a platform approach with centralized policies and administration.”

SAP’s xApp Mobile Sales, which provides remote access to customer and product information, has been improved to allow users to conduct trade promotion evaluations and access customer feedback instantly while on the road. SAP said industry-specific capabilities have also been added. For example, sales reps in the consumer packaged goods industry will be able to use a mobile device to more effectively audit sales and manage customer profiles.

Mobile In-store Inventory Management is a new application designed to provide retail clerks with mobile visibility into current inventory data. The idea is to give them another tool to help customers locate the right products more quickly. The program can help increase inventory accuracy and minimize out-of-stock situations.

Other enhanced applications include xApp Mobile Asset Management, which provides maintenance technicians with remote access to work orders and equipment information. New features include geographic information system (GIS) and RFID  technology.

Coming up for SAP is a new mobile service application for field service engineers. Planned for release in 2008, xApp Mobile Service can be used to access work orders and additional information about customers’ service history to help better anticipate which equipment and parts are likely needed for a particular job.

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