SAP: new opportunities for Android mobile app development

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Investigating your Android options when it comes to SAP mobility

Mobile is a key channel in business globally and leveraging both iOS and Android to run SAP is a core business requirement.  SAP recognises that a mobile strategy needs to include Android, with some estimated 65-80% of global market share, and has recently launched SAP Mobile Cards for Android in April, followed swiftly by the SAP Cloud Platform SDK (Software Development Kit) for Android, announced at Sapphire 2018.

This is good news for SAP users particularly in Europe, which is one of the regions where Android is popular, who want business as usual on their Android (or iOS) mobile devices. Whether it’s to retrieve simple information such as sales data, appointments or more sophisticated tasks or activities such as analytics or complex instructions or scanning, in the business world we all expect our mobile to work seamlessly for us.

Although Android has been an important aspect of SAP’s mobile portfolio from the beginning, this announcement about  SDK for Android in the SAP Cloud Platform enables enterprises to quickly create powerful yet elegant digital native apps to support their Android user population.

Of course there is SAP Fiori, which is used by a large number of customers, designed to be adaptive so you can use it on mobile devices, changing from large screen to small screen. But that’s not what we mean by being fully mobile. We may require more than just simply being able to open SAP Fiori in a browser on any device with an internet connection. And there are still places where you don’t have a good network, such as inside the factory, a building, underground or in the tunnel. These are spaces where connectivity is an issue – and where you may need to work offline. This new SDK supports the development of such apps.

What are the options to support your differing mobile needs?

There are different technologies to support your differing mobile needs. Sometimes you want to have a very simple application such as just want to see a customer fact sheet, or the latest sales orders. The SDK Mobile Cards allow you to spend around 30 minutes doing some step-by-step development to create functional mobile apps that will probably meet a lot of your business needs. But sometimes you need a very content rich application where you can do a lot of complex activities. That’s why for different scenarios SAP offers different techniques.

Here are the three levels outlined for you in simplicity:

  • Run SAP Fiori in your browser with an internet connection or with Mobile Cards
  • Native development. For those with dedicated developers for iOS and Android together with a more expansive budget for enhanced productivity
  • The hybrid or ‘in between’ option where your budget may not be huge and you can accept some compromises as long as the mobile technology does what you need it to do.

The idea of giving you options according to your needs and budget is important. You may want to create very content-rich apps that need to be extremely performant, complex and well designed, whether offline or online. This is the higher end of enterprise mobility which could take weeks or months to develop natively that works on both iOS and Android. On the other hand, you may have different requirements for different apps.

Your enterprise mobility journey starts with SOA People

The message is that do not rush to jump on the bandwagon of native development if a more simple solution is all you need. The compromise of a hybrid option is often a reasonable choice. SOA People has a lot of experience of hybrid options in SAP mobility and we suggest that you talk to us and consider what you are trying to achieve in your enterprise mobility journey and we can help you define the right solution.

The good news is that the SDK for Android is now here and the mobile offering from SAP is complete, giving SAP customers a full choice, whatever they want to do.

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