This is the first blog post of a series around the enterprise mobility team at SAP. We are an internal IT team focused on managing mobile devices, mobile applications, and developing custom apps for SAP’s 100,000 employees. I have been a part of this team for the past six years and believe we have some unique stories, software, tools, and insights to help others in the community considering, or currently undertaking, some of the challenges which surround mobility and its adoption in the enterprise.
SAP has been on the leading edge of adopting, deploying, and developing its Enterprise Mobility strategy for over ten years. It was one of the initial early adopters of Apple in the enterprise, with a field deployment of over 11,000 iPads in 2011. At the time, it was the second-largest deployment worldwide. Not only did SAP deploy and encourage the adoption of these innovative devices in our employee’s hands, but the team also had a early start on developing native iOS apps to support and empower our employees in their daily lives, enabling them to be more productive anywhere.
Over the tenure of the SAP Enterprise Mobility Team, we have developed over 40 custom native apps, enrolled and managed hundreds of thousands devices (my estimate is around 400K!) devices, and responded to thousands of support tickets, feature requests and *unfortunately* more than our fair share of bug reports to support this mission. Our team has been grown by Martin Lang, the fearless one-person leader who started it all, and we are now a powerhouse of over 40 skilled developers, creative designers, supporters, students and software engineers. We are all working towards helping SAP’s employees through our current mission statement of:
“Enterprise mobility enables you to be more productive anywhere by delivering fun, easy-to-use and innovative mobile technology”
Holistically the team does not only focus on the procurement, the hardware, or the apps that run on the device but, more importantly, the entire user experience from end-to-end and how each of these interactions has the opportunity to put our users into a positive and almost surprised, state of mind to begin their mobility journey. All of this can be summed up by a single tweet or even a single image Martin shared:
However, the story does not stop there. Once users have their devices and some necessities such as their security certificate, email, and device up and running, we want them to have the tools to make their lives more productive, simpler or their work experience more enjoyable, which is where our apps come in. Our team has never limited our scope of what we thought was important. We have developed games, chat applications and very specific line of business applications to help our company gain a competitive advantage. Ultimately, and maybe we are slightly biased, but we genuinely believe that mobility, when done right, really is just that … a competitive advantage.
In order to gain our competitive advantage, we have adopted a strategy for mobility at SAP, which supports our mission statement. Firstly we want to provide a choice: over the years we have offered Blackberry, Windows, Apple and Android devices to our employees. However, it seems that the majority of our users have adopted Apple devices in the enterprise, with our current devices split roughly 90% Apple and 10% Android. After a recent JAMF user survey, they found that when users have the ability to use the devices they want within the workplace, they are: 68% more productive, 37% more creative, and 35% more collaborative.
Secondly, our strategy focuses on applications. We need to provide our users with solutions on their device, which can facilitate their daily functions. As previously mentioned, sometimes these applications are games, which can showcase some of our underlying technologies, line of business applications which support specific job functions. An example would be Sales apps or applications which we think could facilitate productivity. A nice productivity example is our SAP Campus app, which provides pertinent information about SAP offices and shares details about where employees can find basic amenities to make their first day or visit to one of our 150 locations, a pleasant one. Our mobile application catalog currently has over 30 custom native mobile apps, 7 SAP consumer apps, and 25 externally developed applications.
Thirdly and lastly, our strategy focuses on the experience. Whether it is a new employee at SAP receiving their equipment for the first time or someone who has worked at SAP for 20 years, we want to provide an end-to-end experience that delights them. From switching it on and having everything preconfigured to opening an app for the first time and experiencing that “aha” moment, which makes them wonder how all of this just happened.
It has been a long journey filled with some great learning opportunities that I think others could benefit from. Over the coming weeks and days, I plan to publish a few more posts on the following topics which take a closer look at the different aspects of enterprise mobility:
- Device management @ SAP: A overview of the history and current landscape of our MDM solutions at SAP
- Developing mobile apps @ SAP: Looking at development practices, processes, infrastructure for some of the apps we have developed
- Supporting mobile apps @ SAP: Some insight into the support tools, software, and methods we use to create and support our mobile apps
I also hope that these posts will encourage you to share your unique comments, stories, situations, and opportunities with everyone else in the community.