Almost a year since first announcing the native mobile capability between SAP and Research in Motion (RIM), today at SAPPHIRE, SAP unveiled the next iteration of what it promised to deliver last May, albeit without a public time line: An integrated and native mobile solution with BlackBerry users that is now generally available to the public.
In a conversation with me earlier today at SAPPHIRE, Jujhar Singh, SAP’s senior vice president of CRM product management, explained that innovating on mobility is one of the key messages he hoped to convey to not only conference attendees, but to the industry at large. He pointed to the “unique strategy” SAP is employing that makes this just the first of many mobile-related announcements to come. “The rate of innovation on the client side of mobility … is extremely rapid,” he said. “If we tried to own the whole scenario — keeping up with devices — it just wouldn’t be physically possible.”
Instead, Singh says partnerships with companies like RIM, but also including Sybase and Syclo, allows SAP to focus on what he said it does best: end-to-end business processes. “The innovation from us is only a part of the entire ecosystem,” he said.
While at first glance the native SAP application on BlackBerry phones is mainly geared toward sales professionals, Singh insists that sales is not the only mobile frontier the German software company is exploring. He noted that Syclo already has a mobile application for enterprise asset maintenance availabile now, but another one for field service is on its way (he could not elaborate more than “coming shortly” insofar as time frame).
Also not looking to shirk an increasingly Web-savvy customer base propelled by Generation Y that is also into using Apple’s iPhone, Singh said that Sybase is in the process of buidling an iPhone and Windows Mobile application for SAP. “That’s why we can excel … our partners can help us provide the best innovation on that front,” he said.