SAP execs also trotted out an old, old promise of mobile: targeted coupons based on customer behavior. Given SAP's product lines in ERP, business intelligence, and now mobile management, the idea of doing custom delivery based on analytics to individual customers via their smartphones is a sensible idea. It's just that everyone has the same idea and that the idea, dubbed m-commerce, has been proposed for more than a decade. Shopkick, for example, got some buzz earlier this year for the latest incarnation of this concept, which I suspect will have the same "don't spy on me" reaction as Facebook's recently announced location sharing technology and other similar services have always had. No matter the validity of such objections, m-commerce is an obvious idea that's been obvious to lots of people for a long time.
If SAP has a mobile strategy that goes beyond the obvious, it's not telling. Here's what I would have wanted to see real insight on:
- How to use mobile data -- geolocation, camera, microphone, presence sensor, and the other sensors embedded in modern devices -- to extend the capability of ERP users, from shop managers using their ERP system's manufacturing components to salespeople handling the customer management. After all, mobile devices bring new capabilities to the mix, not just make regular computing portable. It's true that m-commerce fits in this category, but is that all there is?
- How to rethink ERP processes to work well natively in the mobile context, so users who don't spend all day at desks can do their jobs better, faster, more easily, and with better results. SAP execs and their PR videos showed off the usual stuff -- looking at maps, messaging on the go, and using entertainment services -- but again, is that it?
Specific ideas that demonstrate an understanding of innovative mobile enterprise and business potential would really be worth crowing about.
The good news is that SAP did acquire Sybase, which has some decent mobile management technology that maybe can be translated to mobile delivery technology and paired intelligently with other SAP technologies. At least it means there are some Androids and iPhones in use at SAP that could over time clue the company in to the fact that real mobile innovation goes beyond a pane-of-glass approach, no matter how pretty the glass.
And maybe SAP does have some real insights on innovative uses of mobie in enterprise but doesn't want to tip off competitors. If so, stop the hand-waving and get back to us when it's real.
This article, "SAP's 'duh' strategy for mobile," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com.