SAP has extended its relationship with Syclo, a mobile enterprise application platform vendor, to offer field service management on mobile devices. The deal is part of SAP's broader mobile partnership initiative.
On 31 March 2009, SAP and Illinois-based Syclo, which focuses on enterprise mobile applications and tools, announced that they have entered into an agreement centered on delivering mobile applications. The offering will pair SAP Business Suite with Syclo's Smart Mobile Suite, and will include functionality for work order execution, operator rounds, time/attendance tracking and materials management. SAP and Syclo will work together to develop, test and support the offering.
This is SAP's third co-innovation announcement since early 2008 with vendors Gartner has named as leaders or challengers in our Mobile Enterprise Application Platform Magic Quadrant (see "Magic Quadrant for Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms" and "Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, 2008" ). Gartner expects it to be the first of the three offerings to be made generally available later in 2Q09. During 2Q08, SAP announced it would partner with Research In Motion (RIM) to offer native CRM sales support on the BlackBerry. Earlier, in March 2009, SAP announced a co-innovation agreement with Sybase that covered CRM sales and mobile inbox functionality.
SAP and Syclo have already executed a soft launch of their joint offering in Europe. SAP will continue to focus on back-end integration of its business suite. As with its other two partnerships, SAP will rely on Syclo to provide out-of-box mobile thick-client functionality. Such functionality is especially important in field service and enterprise asset maintenance environments in which a highly tuned user experience, aligned with workflow, can enhance uptake, as well as in instances where wireless coverage may be impossible or intermittent.
In a later release, the new SAP-Syclo offering will replace SAP's Mobile Asset Management (MAM) and Mobile Asset Management for Utilities (MAU) offerings, which were based on SAP NetWeaver Mobile 7.0. SAP says it will support current MAM and MAU customers through 2015. (For the immediate future, this is an additional offering.) During the past two years, Gartner has observed that SAP clients have been applying considerable additional customization and tuning to MAM and MAU implementations, particularly in the area of synchronizing databases with handheld devices. The SAP-Syclo approach will include a match of Syclo's composite transaction middleware and the data delta synchronization capability of Syclo's middleware. This composite transaction approach minimizes network traffic and can prolong battery life.
Utilities and other organizations:
If you are evaluating MAM or MAU, immediately contact the SAP sales channel for guidance on local support for this offering. If you are considering MAM, understand that you will trade customization development costs (with MAM) for Syclo licensing, configuration and lightweight customization.
If you have implemented MAM or MAU within the past three years, complete a cost-benefit analysis of customization required to transition to the joint SAP-Syclo offering.
If you are a Syclo customer, are using other enterprise asset maintenance or field service management solutions, and are converting to SAP, add this offering to your shortlist for mobile enablement.
"Key Issues for Mobile Applications, 2009” — Gartner expects mobile applications to provide a high return on investment during 2009, justifying continued or increased investment in mobile workers, partners and customers. By William Clark
"SAP and Research In Motion Begin Partnership in Mobile Sales Force Automation” — The partnership between SAP and RIM in thick-client mobile enterprise applications reinforces mobility's march to the enterprise mainstream. By William Clark
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