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SAP expands mobile reach

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SAP has begun recruiting partner ISVs to its NetWeaver platform update for mobile devices to increase uptake of its applications in the field.

The enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant said it's working with both existing and new mobile ISV partners to certify their applications to the SOA-enabled version of SAP NetWeaver Mobile, due for a restricted release in November.

SAP NetWeaver Mobile has been updated to handle more of the main NetWeaver platform's web services APIs and architecture. That introduces capabilities such as modelling a distributed data platform that's capable of routing and serving up data to the mobile user according to attributes such as roles or regions.

Sami Muneer, senior director of SAP product marketing, said: "The new platform will provide more added benefits around the SOA architecture, such as flexibility, scalability, data scaling and [by being] event driven."

Muneer was speaking as SAP announced updates to the mobile applications running on SAP NetWeaver Mobile. New applications are SAP xApp Mobile Service targeting full service engineers in the consumer market, and SAP Mobile In-store Inventory Management for retail staff to check warehouse inventory. The applications are expected in 2008.

The existing SAP xApp Mobile Sales has been updated so sales staff in the field can connect to promotional evaluations, SAP xApp Mobile Asset Management is updated with GIS and RFID capabilities, and SAP xApp Mobile Direct now lets delivery staff handle financial transactions as part of the sales cycle.

SAP claimed 850 of its 40,000 customers now use its applications on mobile devices - SAP went mobile in 2001. That's a relatively small number despite a claimed 50 per cent year-on-year increase, that indicates SAP is slow to the mobile arena.

The company faces stiff competition from Salesforce.com and even Oracle. As such, SAP countered that its mobile strategy provides flexibility at the user interface layer, continuous connectivity, and a strong vertical flavour. ®

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