SAP goes mobile

SAP wants to double number of users by 2015 through mobility, says mobile chief

Business management software giant SAP wants to leave the desktop and go mobile, according to Sanjay Poonen, who heads the company's mobile division.

Poonen told Business Insider that his firm is focusing on mobile apps and cloud services in order to double the number of software users by 2015.

As part of this mobility effort, SAP is revamping many of its enterprise apps to run on mobile devices.

"We seek to be the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) of enterprise mobility. People used to think of SAP as back-office. But the more that you touch every employee, those on the front line, people in services and on shop floors--the way you get to those folks is through mobile devices. Many of them don't have desktop computers," Poonen said.

SAP not only wants to be the Apple of enterprise mobility, it also uses Apple's iPads. It has deployed over 14,000 iPads and lets Apple's enterprise sales group use it as a case study. SAP is also pushing its apps onto Android, Poonen added.

SAP is also investing in mobile startups through its $155 million venture capital fund. The company is looking for mobile companies to buy or partner with, the mobile chief explained.

The German company recently made two large acquisitions--Sybase and Syclo. "We are always looking at the ways we can expand our footprint. We tend to see ourselves as way ahead in enterprise mobility. There aren't any big players out there ahead of us in enterprise mobility. We never say no to things. We will look at tuck-in acquisitions and in many cases, partner. And SAP Ventures is looking at mobile startups," Poonen told Business Insider.

But if you think SAP is all business, think again. SAP is also building fantasy fan apps for the NFL and the NBA, Poonen said.

In a November blog post, David Clavey of SAP offered resources for developers wanting to build SAP apps for Windows Phone 8. He said SAP is holding free Windows Phone 8 developer camps in the U.K. this month and next month.

There is no question that the business management software firm sees its future on the move. To accomplish its ambitious goal of doubling the number of users in three years, it needs to expand its brand recognition beyond the confines of IT departments.

For more:
- check out Business Insider's interview with Poonen
- read the SAP for Mobile blog

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