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The Keys to Keeping Mobile Simple

As mobility moves into the enterprise mainstream, simplicity is key, but it is hard than it appears. Successful enterprises will build on platforms that make life simpler for everyone in the mobile value chain.

As we look forward to 2014, the biggest challenge facing most organizations worldwide in adopting mobile is that, according to various surveys including SAP's own, fully 70-80 percent of all enterprises are investing tactically in mobile while about 20 percent have taken the step to look at mobile as a strategic investment.  

The tactical nature of investment is understandable as the technology provides, market adoption and end user expectations are moving at a much faster pace than a typical IT organization's resources allow.

That's where the theme of simplicity begins, because if you interview all the people involved in mobile adoption at the tactical level, you will find that end user adoption skyrockets when mobile apps are easy to find and provision, when developers can innovate and distribute their creations in a simple way, and when the sheer act of supporting end users is made simple, either through automation or self-support.

In tactical organizational deployments, these seeds of mobile simplicity are sown, and with mobile adoption reaching the mainstream of computing, there are many vendors in the app, security, provisioning, telecom, and hardware areas who are mastering one of these areas.  

That's when the simplicity tends to end.

The success at the individual, department, business unit and/or enterprise level leads to more adoption, and the diversity of devices, operating system versions, browsers, types of applications and content mushrooms.

Many organizations are destined to spend much more on mobile in the next five years than they need to, and at SAP we believe we have the right technology portfolio to mitigate those costs.

The key to SAP's mobile strategy simply lies in keeping mobile simple.

Simple for Administrators: Administrators need the tools to manage the entire range of mobile devices, applications, content, all the while keeping the content secure, affordable. And they need to give users and enterprises ways to make mobile cost-effective.

Administrators have many options in each category of mobile security and privacy, including mobile device management, app stores, mobile application management and wrapping, and mobile expense management.    

Simple for Developers: developers need to be able to use the tools they want, create the blend of services using the Cloud as needed, and they need to be able to simply test, stage, and refine their work. And they need ecosystems and ways to make monetization straightforward.  

Developers need to bring-their-own-tools (BYOT) and they need to link in content from a widening range of sources, including complex back end systems, bespoke applications, spreadsheets, video content, and they must be able to adapt the user experience across devices and browsers.

Open standards like Apache Cordova, O-Data, the OSGi frameworks, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript have greatly simplified mobile app development and made it approachable for web developers. 

Furthermore, by leveraging open-standards developers need to be able to simply leverage the power of Big Data so that they can push boundaries of user experience and insight.

Simple for end Users: end users demand simplicity — there are so many options for content now that the whole experience of finding, using, and updating apps and devices need to be meshed – end users expect that seamless experiences in using a mobile app store platform, application provisioning, security, and they expect a vibrant ecosystem to make it simple to find and update apps.

And for end users involved in complex workflows, end users' tasks can be greatly simplified by mobile apps are refined to meet the specific industry and workflow needs.   

Simple for business owners: Analytical tools give business owners the insight into what is happening as mobile transforms everyday processes, and developers need access to analytical content through mobile SDK's. Even acquiring mobile technology needs to be made easier through streamlined licensing and cloud services.  

When one considers whether you are starting an automobile, checking into a hotel, changing a television channel, or logging into an application, great user experiences always start with one common thread: simplicity.

I believe that the 20-30 percent of organizations already taking a strategic platform-based approach will be joined by a significant portion of the mainstream that are currently taking piecemeal approaches. These organizations will be the first to extend the business advantage they are finding in our mobile platforms.

But only if they and their vendors keep it, well, simple.