Security biggest challenge for enterprise mobility

German software vendor SAP sees security as roadblock to enterprise adopting mobility technology, so company works with hardware and security firms to ensure app safety, says exec.

Security is the biggest challenge for SAP in its push toward software mobility, so the German enterprise applications firm is partnering hardware and security vendors to ensure the security of its mobile applications, said an executive.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia Wednesday, Stephen Watts, president of SAP Asia Pacific Japan, said enterprises are constantly cautious about security. The situation is the same with enterprise mobility software products as employees are able to access vital company information from outside the corporate firewall, he noted.

For SAP, security for mobility focuses on its mobile applications. Watts said the company collaborates with hardware and security vendors to ensure that the applications developed are secure and able to run on various platforms.

He noted that there are other roadblocks to software mobility, such as device sophistication and reliability of the bandwidth, though he believe the solutions to these infrastructure-related problems will come in time.

SAP's business strategy is to deliver the software to its customers the way they want it, said Watts. There are three: On premise for customers who prefer to have control over their applications' environment; on demand for clients who wish to have software delivered from the cloud; and on-device for those who want applications delivered to their mobile devices.

Added to these three offerings is orchestration, he added. With legacy systems still around in many firms, the software company needs to support the orchestration of business processes on different systems, as well as maintain the integrity of the processes, he said.

SAP says it sees a material growth opportunity in on-device delivery. Not only is there a "push factor" toward enterprise mobility in the form of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, there is also a "pull factor" from customers who do not want to be tied to any device and want real-time information anytime, anywhere, he said.

The company's applications are not about "99 cents apps" running on the user's mobile device, but about software that can push or pull information to the device, he said.

The Sybase acquisition is core to SAP's mobility strategy, noted Watts who stressed that the purchase was to accelerate the company's innovation and not purely to add to the customer base.

China, India biggest growth regions for SAP
SAP also announced the financial results for its third quarter for the Asia-Pacific and Japan region. Excluding Japan, the region's software and software-related services revenue grew by 26 percent to €300 million (US$415.5 million), while total revenue increased 20 percent to reach €365 million (US$505.53 million), according to the company statement.

Watts said China and India are two of the fastest-growing markets for the company. In China, utilities and consumer retail are the two largest industries, he added.

Growth for business analytics solutions is "very strong" in the region, he said. Watts pointed out that business intelligence software from Business Objects, which was acquired by SAP in 2007, now makes up over 30 percent of its regional portfolio.

While cloud computing is becoming more than an afterthought for enterprises, Watts noted that this is still an immature segment. However, he believes that in five years' time, on-demand delivery of software can grow to reach up to 20 percent of enterprise software deployed by SAP.


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