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Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Oliver Bussmann, CIO of SAP (Part 3)

Posted on Friday, Feb 15th 2013

Sramana Mitra: I have a question about the different areas of apps. Obviously, there is a great deal of policy management going on in the enterprise. Twenty thousand people on devices using some permutation of 50 different tablet or phone apps. Not everybody gets to see everything. Is that correct?

Oliver Bussmann: That is the case today. We have user and access management that is also implemented on the mobile device. We have software to manage those mobile devices in a secure way. At any time we can see who is using what, and if there is any security breach we can see that, too.

SM: My question is this: Before the mobile world, you had to do the same thing. Not everybody got to see all the analytics data, not everybody got to see the financial data, etc. There is already user management built into your infrastructure. How easy was it to take that user management and extend it to the mobile apps world?

OB: That was very easy because if somebody already had a dashboard report, we had that mobile front-end access to those reports on the mobile devices, including the access management – which information content is accessible by that user. That is based on certificates like x509, for example.

SM: What happens with the “bring your own device” situation? How are you managing those? Are those 20,000 devices corporate devices, or does it include the “bring your own” devices?

OB: Five thousand of those are “bring your own” devices because there are employees out there who are not qualified to use a corporate mobile device. But we believe they should also have access to corporate mobile apps and information to manage their business – what can be done with these mobile apps to develop this mobile mindset, which we believe is important for our business going forward. People should have the understanding of what kind of business can be done on mobile devices. We realize how important it is in a corporate environment that we leverage a mobile device management tool.

In the past there was a RIM BlackBerry enterprise server to manage those RIM BlackBerries with Apple or Android devices, or Windows devices. There is no standard mobile device management in place. SAP is one of the leading software providers in that area, so we use those mobile device management tools to manage corporate devices. For example, someone has a BlackBerry right now and would like to have an iPad Mini. That person can go to our shopping system and pick one of these devices, it is approved through our workflow management system and shipped to that person’s desk, where the employee can self-activate the device. In that moment, the device is under our control. We monitor any security breach or jail-breaking activities.

Then there is also a mobile app store where you have access to more than 50 mobile apps. We use the same infrastructure for personal devices. We put our software out there to monitor those personal devices. Right now we have enabled that and it is a country-by-country deployment, because you have to look at local security requirements and data privacy requirement. Over the last year we have done this in 21 countries, and we use the same infrastructure for corporate devices also. We also offer those employees who are not qualified [for corporate devices] to bring their personal devices. The only open up for one of our 10 corporate device types we also have as a corporate device.

SM: Obviously you see a lot of what is going on in the industry. What are some of the most innovative enterprise solutions you have seen from startups or innovation vendors? What have you seen that is particularly interesting from a trend point of view?

OB: I think there is one trend that will change the entire enterprise software business. Memory is becoming very inexpensive. We now see hardware manufacturers coming up with servers that have 100 terabytes of memory available for your location. You can store your entire SAP landscape and the related data in that main memory. Machines thus become more incorporated into the business application and can distribute the workload. Transactions and analytics that would usually take hours and days to do – we are talking about billions of records and terabytes of data – are now possible in a few seconds. We see a massive change towards real-time enterprise business processing, so you know exactly at any time where your business is from a financial, revenue, or production perspective. In the end, it is coming together that we have new databases, new hardware, more massive memory and business logic of business applications, embracing those databases and in-memory hardware advantages. You accelerate the whole business processes by a factor of 10,000 or 100,000. It is a really new business.

We started the business in 2011 with €160 million, and last year’s revenue was almost €400 million. The projection for this year is far more than €700 million. This is the fastest growing software business and database business. It is a big change in how we handle business processes. The key lesson here is that if you combine this megatrend in in-memory big data processing with mobility and the capability to do analytics, you generate a new type of user behavior. Then you can process a big amount of data in real time and make this information available through analytics on mobile devices.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Thought Leaders in Mobile and Social: Interview with Oliver Bussmann, CIO of SAP
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