The apps are available to be viewed as demos. Customers then purchase the apps through SAP internal sales or SAP partners.
The development is being driven by SAP and its partners, powered by Sybase Unwired Platform. The store is available online and through an on-device version for iOS called “SAP Mobile Apps,” with Android, BlackBerry and other operating systems to follow.
The apps in the app store will all be native, running on Apple and Blackberry devices. SAP will look at Android for next year. Windows Phone 7 will come at a later point but right now the market is still not robust enough. Further, SAP executives say they still need to develop for Windows 6.5. SAP has thousands of customers who have Windows 6.5 on “rugged” devices used in construction and other fields.
SAP has developed 30 of its own mission-critical apps for the store. By the end of the year, partners will provide an additional 30 apps. The apps will fulfill business processes such as field services, CRM, line of business and retail surveys that collect structured and unstructured data.
The SAP approach demonstrates how large technology companies differ in their approach to developing mobile apps and associated marketplaces. The apps are designed to integrate with the extensive back end systems that SAP customers have deployed. That in turn affects the selling process. Considering the integration requirements, it takes about six weeks for the app to be ready for the customer. After set up, subsequent purchases can be handled more easily.
Striking, isn’t it? Apps that are only available as demos and then later through internal sales and the channel. Comparing it to the Apple or Android app store you see the huge gap between Internet companies and companies such as SAP.
Noteworthy is SAP’s aggressiveness in the mobile market. Since the Sybase acquisition, SAP has embraced mobile development.