This is an SAP sponsored blog post. Eric Lai is an SAP employee. Eric's views are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of SAP.
Several months ago, I wrote about the Four Ways SAP Is Embracing SoCloMo, i.e. the mashup of Social, Cloud and Mobile technology.
Predictably, one of the ways involved our cloud HR acquisition, SuccessFactors. But there were three other excellent efforts that show just far SAP's progressed beyond R/3.
Today, I come to you with three more ways that SAP is combining cloud and mobile technology in advanced ways.
As you might recall, SAP has developed its own enterprise-friendly alternative to free cloud storage such as DropBox or Google Drive.
Called SAP Box, this up-to-2-GB storage service gives SAP Global IT more control and security than public services, while retaining the ease-of-use of a DropBox.
Using SAP Box, employees today can sync documents between iPhone, iPad and Windows PC.
Coming soon is an Android app, according to SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann.
Bussmann says he still intends to make SAP Box available to external customers.
While SAP Box provides good security, sometimes you need even more...as in the case of confidential financial documents for members of SAP's Supervisory Board (equivalent to an American corporate board of directors).
Vendors like Citrix would argue that the only way to guarantee data security is to keep documents off the mobile device and store them only on a server.
But there's a huge cost in usability. Financial documents can be very long, making them clumsy to read and hard to access on the go when in the cloud.
Enter the SAP Board Docs app.
SAP Board Docs provides an extra-secure sandbox for users to view and download files on their iPads. To secure the documents locally, users must enter an additional strong password on top of the device password.
The use of a sandbox means that users can use the app either on a company-owned and managed tablet, or on a personal one, too.
SAP Board Docs was built using Sybase Unwired Platform, Sybase Relay Server, SAP Gateway and in the most secure area, the SAP internal ERP system powered by SAP Netweaver.
In use internally since April, SAP is building a demo version that like the SAP Box, it plans to market to external customers.
(Click here to read an internal blog about Board Docs if you're an SAP employee.)
The final way SAP is combining cloud and mobile is with its Afaria mobile device management software.
Being in the cloud also lets your firm avoid the cost and labor of installing your own server to run Afaria.
Customers will still need to have an Afaria license, and additionally, pay usage fees to Amazon.