SAP opened its new Mobility Design Center to help customers meet the need for individualized mobile solutions. Headquartered on the company’s campus in Palo Alto, CA, the center is focused on enabling companies to keep up with the consumerization of IT by conceptualizing, designing and building mobile solutions to better connect with employees and consumers.
Customers collaborate with a team of user experience (UX) designers, architects and developers. The team employs design thinking principles and validates mobile solutions with end users throughout the build process. The center allows users to design, develop and validate customer-specific mobile enterprise solutions for users and leverage features such as touch, camera, GPS and other device functionality across a variety of platforms.
Sysco Corporation, a distributor of food products to the hospitality, medical, foodservice and education industries, used the center to design and build an application using the SAP mobile platform. The app enables customers to manage inventory from the company and place orders, either manually or by setting replenishment metrics to re-order automatically. The app also allows customers to track their own inventory not purchased from the company as an added service for the customer. This also gives the company an expanded view into the items its customers need, advising the company on items it may want to offer in the future.
“As we are looking to grow our business, we are strongly focused on saving our customers time and making the business relationship as easy and collaborative as possible,” said Twila Day, CIO of Sysco. “Experts from the Mobility Design Center supported us in designing, building and testing the mobile app, fulfilling our special requirements of having it run in unwired locations. This helps us in strengthening our customers’ satisfaction and loyalty, and makes it easier for our customers to engage and work with us.”
Mobile Solutions a Top Priority for Businesses
Mobile application development has become a top concern for enterprises and their CIOs. According to the 2012 Gartner CIO Survey, 61% of respondents plan to enhance their mobile capability during the next three years, and 48% believe they will become leaders by fully adopting innovative mobile solutions.
It is also important that these solutions are easy to use, according to Elizabeth Hedstrom-Henlin, an enterprise software analyst with Technology Business Research (TBR). “Usability is more important than ever, and the ability for an app to connect seamlessly to the backend and function flawlessly over time is a business imperative.”
Still, there are companies who have not yet caught on to developing their apps the right way. “Mobile apps have become a priority for businesses today. Yet, many companies struggle to build solutions fast enough and cannot find the right kind of talent,” says Sanjay Poonen, president of SAP’s mobile division.
Agile Development and a Collaborative Approach
The center’s focus is on the end user during the development process. Starting with the user experience, input is translated into initial mock-ups of the solution, which are used for end-user validation. Based on feedback collected from end users, the mobile solution is built with a connection to the back-end application and deployed into the target landscape for productive use. The process helps to ensure that end users adopt and enjoy the experience of working with the solution.
The mobile solutions developed often cover customers’ critical business processes so, to help ensure safe deployment, they are built according to development guidelines based on the SAP mobile platform. The center ensures that solutions work reliably in productive environments and also offers maintenance services to customers.
The platform provides the foundation for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-employee (B2E) mobile app development, mobile device management and mobile security management. The company and its partners are delivering an expanding number of mobile apps and plan to move forward in this area.
Another Step in the Transformation
The design center is the latest workspace development in a multi-year campus transformation underway at SAP’s Palo Alto campus. The company has undertaken a significant investment in its locations worldwide and has recently completed other renovations on-site, such a new cloud computing development center and the “AppHaus,” where teams build new applications on top of the SAP HANA platform.