Many SAP customers struggling to figure out its mobility strategy, user survey finds

SAP pledges to provide more clarity on its mobile offerings

It's been nearly four years since SAP got into enterprise mobility with the acquisition of Sybase, but many customers still don't quite understand its mobile product strategy, according to a new survey by the Americas' SAP Users' Group.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they had either a "poor" or "fair" handle on what SAP is doing with mobile. Another 33.7 percent said they had a "good" sense of it, but only 9.5 percent professed to have a "very good" understanding.

"Communication and clarification from SAP on its mobile strategy is absolutely crucial to customers gaining a more favorable perception of it," the survey states.

About two-thirds of respondents said they'd welcome more stories about SAP customer mobile implementations, while three-quarters want "better/more information" on product road maps, according to the survey.

ASUG members named a series of challenges they're facing with respect to implementing SAP's mobile software. Forty-five percent cited cost as a significant issue.

"I'm not saying it has to be super cheap," said one SAP Mobile Platform pilot user, who was quoted anonymously in the survey. "But give your existing customer base a break."

Meanwhile, many SAP customers are struggling to formulate a concrete mobile strategy of their own. While 47 percent of respondents said they were developing mobile applications, 44 percent said prioritizing these efforts has been a challenge.

SAP responded to the findings in a statement that was published as part of the survey.

For one thing, more than 70 percent of respondents had either a fair, good or very good understanding of its mobile offerings, SAP said.

However, "we take to heart that SAP can improve the articulation of our multi-faceted strategy, and we will follow up with specific sessions to discuss the next chapter in our mobile strategy," it added.

SAP is trying to build a complete stack of mobile technology, SAP said: "This is an important distinction because many competitive individual mobility solutions are being acquired or simply putting up 'out of business' signs."

This year, SAP will publish an "enterprise mobility map" that will "help customers better understand their mobility baseline today and make decisions regarding other areas of their business to mobilize," the statement adds.

Customers can also expect more mobile case studies and road maps this year, SAP said.

Some 306 ASUG members representing a wide variety of industries responded to the survey in November and December. More than 90 percent were from companies with more than 250 employees.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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