SAP Mobile – Breaking the Mold

Changing company culture in a large enterprise is a tall order. Once a mindset has congealed, it becomes very difficult to get people un-stuck from a certain way of thinking. However, when it comes to mobility, SAP is turning the ship around. David Brutman, Senior Director of Developer Relations at SAP, shared with me this week just how SAP is making huge strides in rooting out big, lumbering enterprise thinking with their approach to mobility.

There are a few key areas where SAP is making a significant shift in lowering the barrier to entry for enterprise app developers. Brutman stated that, “We’re introducing a new free developer license that is unlimited in time with full development capabilities.” He further explained, “We had a 30 day free trial but we are elevating that significantly by removing any time restriction.” This free license will provide developers unfamiliar with the SAP mobile platform a chance to develop against it without monetary commitment. Developers can then publish apps to their platform of choice.

Besides the free developer license, SAP is providing additional support for development integration with the leading mobile software development frameworks.  Brutman told me, “Another component I’m especially excited about is the partnership with Sencha Touch, Adobe PhoneGap, and Appcellerator Titanium.” Those frameworks are quickly becoming the de facto development mobile platforms because of their ability to develop one code-base that works across multiple different platforms. As Brutman put it, “SAP wants to take advantage of those platforms, with their ability to create beautiful UIs [user interfaces] and merge it with SAP capabilities in secure and managed way.” Those development platforms make perfect sense for enterprise mobile requirements and SAP is taking full advantage of that fact.

Historically, SAP has maintained a complex partnering process that all but excluded smaller development shops. This focus on opening the platform to the masses represents a major shift in partner thinking for SAP. As Brutman explained, “Typically we worked with larger companies and larger partners. Engagement was high-touch.” That kind of thinking represents the classical method of large enterprise engagement that SAP is moving away from. “Now we are accelerating the [partner] program to be able to scale. We want the ability to support a large number of developers. Those developers don’t have experience with SAP applications and they want to enter the enterprise space.”  This is a win-win situation, as developers get to create solutions and SAP expands their mobile capabilities.

My conversation with Brutman only further confirms that SAP gets mobile. They get that success in this space requires solutions that are simple, play well with others, and fit into a bigger picture. They are positioning themselves to take advantage of the milieu of open platforms and integrated ecosystems. It is amazing to see such a large organization have such sustained commitment to change in the right direction. The change isn’t going to happen overnight and isn’t going to be without some bumps in the road. However, I foresee that this commitment will allow them to prosper well into the future.

For information on the announcement from SAP visit:


Benjamin Robbins is a Principal at Palador, a consulting firm that focuses on providing strategic guidance to enterprises in the areas of mobile strategy, policy, apps, and data. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.


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Filed under Apps, Ecosystem, Future, Mobile

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