SAP Continues Mobile Applications and Cloud Technology Expansion
SAP, the world leader in enterprise software, intends to have one billion people using its software by 2015. That would constitute an increase of 100 percent of its present user base.
The plan largely rests in the hands of Sanjay Poonen, President of Global Solutions and Go-to-Market for SAP AG, who (1) leads SAP’s Mobile Division and (2) is also responsible for its analytics, database, and technology products. In a recent interview, he explained how SAP intends to accomplish that gargantuan task: the use of a multiplicity of various mobile apps together with cloud technology added to the mix.
To put that very aggressive projection in perspective, Apple has already sold about a half a billion iPhones and iPads since their introduction, but if sales continue at the current rate, Apple won’t reach a billion sales until 2015.
SAP is revamping a lot of its enterprise applications to run on mobile devices. It particularly wants to reach field workers who never used PCs. Here are a few components of SAP’s plan: (1) SAP has put over 14,000 iPads into the hands of enterprise sales group to use in a case study. SAP is also pushing its applications onto Google’s Android mobile operating system. (2) Using funds from its $155 million venture capital fund, SAP is investing in mobile startups””with a preference for startups that create writing mobile applications that use its HANA database. (3) Exploring acquisitions of and/or joint ventures with companies in the “mobile” world. (4) Although mobile-app users will make up most of the half billion users it expects to garner, some of the new users should also come from SAP’s Web-based human-resources software, “SuccessFactors”, and the social tools contained therein.
The following are slightly edited excerpts from a recent interview of Mr. Poonen:
Mr. Poonen was asked, “How far away are you from your goal of having a billion users by 2015?” He answered, “Among our 200,000 customers, there’s at least a half a billion employees, maybe closer to a billion. So if we can touch every one of those employees, then we’re substantially closer to that goal”¦SAP has been willing to buy its way to growth lately with some pretty large acquisitions. ”
When this question was posed, “Are you going to make another big deal to reach your billion-user goal?” Mr. Poonen responded, “In the mobile area, we’ve only done two acquisitions, Sybase and Syclo. We are always looking at the ways we can expand our footprint. We tend to see ourselves as way ahead in enterprise mobility. There aren’t any big players out there ahead of us in enterprise mobility. We never say no to things. We will look at tuck-in acquisitions and in many cases partner. And SAP Ventures is looking at mobile startups.”
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