A match made in Heaven – SAPUI5 and FIORI makes standard SAP Mobile Apps a customer success.

SAPUI5 makes SAP Mobile Apps a Great Business – for Partners, Customers and OEM’s – Truly a match made in heaven.

SAPUI5 is the web framework used to build Fiori apps. Apps build on SAPUI5 are unique in several ways: They offer great support for customization, are easy to upgrade and support and are build using core SAP technology that’s familiar to SAP partners and customers around the world.

This makes SAPUI5 especially great for building mobile apps that can be delivered again and again to customers across the SAP ecosystem.

In combination with SAP’s market leading mobile infrastructure SAP Mobile Services, SAPUI5 has proven for us to be an ideal foundation for building a mobile app product business. It is clear to us that what we have achieved at 2BM Software would not have been possible without these fantastic innovations from SAP.

Allow us to elaborate…

 

Buy, Don’t Build

In much the same way that no company would consider building their own word processor or their own spreadsheet application, it has long been the ambition for SAP to create an ecosystem of easily deployable off the shelve partner apps. The benefit to customers is obvious. Long and complex development projects are avoided resulting in a fraction of the cost and unmatched security of delivery and maintenance. For partners it is an opportunity to invest in building intellectual property and to solidify their business with reoccurring revenue and collaborating across the SAP partner eco-system worldwide.

 

Adaptation

Even with moves towards standardization, SAP offers a rich feature set, and the customer base is large and diverse. As such there is an inevitably need for variation across customers. To this point SAPUI5 absolutely shines with the capable extension framework that SAP build to allow any part of an SAPUI5 application to be modified, replaced, hidden, or removed – all without making a single change to the core application. Instead of fighting this need for adaptation, SAPUI5 allows customers and partners to embrace it in a controlled manner, build flexible and easily upgradeable solutions and extract maximum return on investment.

For mobile apps in particular the requirement for a great fit is even more at odds with building something that works for everyone. Because screen real-estate on a mobile device is limited, the user experience must be highly adapted to the business process and the task at hand. There is no room for fields or functions that will not be used or must be skipped. The interaction must be intuitive and streamlined and this is beautifully enabled by SAPUI5.

 

Adoption

While the SAPUI5 Extension Framework is a stroke of genius, someone must still do the actual customisation. And this is where SAPUI5 stands out as the only true alternative. SAPUI5 is at the absolute core of SAP user interface strategy. It’s the basis of every new screen in S/4 Hana, the future of SAPs core ERP product. Consequently, every SAP partner in the ecosystem is actively building up intimate knowledge of how to develop and customise using this technology.

The result is a unique situation where any SAP partner, without prior knowledge, can deliver off the shelf, cost effective and precisely customised mobile applications as part of their projects. A situation where customers can rest assured that they can easily find the right resources to support and further extend their investment.

 

Alternatives?

SAP offers two additional ways of building tightly integrated mobile apps. The native Fiori SDKs for iOS and Android and the MDK framework. While these technologies may have individual strengths for specific use case, they unfortunately fall short when it comes to creating off-the-shelf products.

Common for both “alternatives” is the requirement for a specialized skill set. Either Swift (iOS) and Java (Android) developers to work with the native SDK’s or for the MDK framework, scarcely available experts familiar with the technology. Neither of these are – nor should be – core competences for SAP partners.

In terms of the resulting apps, the native SDKs do offer the ability to create a rich and highly customised user experience. But it comes at the cost of multiple code lines, where every change must be done multiple times, driving up the cost and complexity and “time to market” – a crucial factor for innovation and business benefits. On the other hand, MDK based app offer the ability to deploy on both Android and iOS, but at a prohibitively high cost to the user experience that is simply not as good as Ui5.

 

Common misunderstandings

SAPUI5 in the context of mobile apps is what is known as “hybrid technology”. A mix of web technology (SAPUI5 is built on HTML5) and a native “wrapper” (SAP Kapsel) to allow the application to integrate with features of the mobile device – such as camera, GPS, storage, and most importantly offline data synchronisation with SAP Mobile Services. Hybrid apps are admittedly not the common choice in the consumer app space. Reasons for this though are exactly that – specific to consumer apps. And somewhat historical.

While performance of hybrid apps in the past were not on par with the native counterparts, the developments in mobile device processing power all but render this objection obsolete. Similarly, it can be argued that a superior user experience can be archived with native apps. This is in theory true. However, it must be considered that popular consumer apps have huge development teams working on a single – often simple – application. In an enterprise context however the achievable improvements pale in comparison with the additional cost.

 

In practice 

At 2BM Software, our bet on SAPUI5 has allowed us to focus on developing two highly complex mobile applications – Mobile Work Order and Mobile Warehouse, representing years of development, and to bring this value to customer across the globe, through a network of SAP partners in United VARs. Having worked with all previous and current generations of SAP mobile technology, we can confidently say that this would not have been possible without the key combination of SAPUI5 and SAP’s Mobile Services on Business Technology platform. The introduction of this perfect marriage brought together all the great ideas of previous and existing generations while solving the key pains that were previously holding us back. The result has proven to be a solid foundation for a successful mobile products business.

 

In summary

In summary we believe that continuing to support mobile app development with SAPUI5 is crucial to the SAP mobile ecosystem success. For SAP customers to have a cost-effective way of introducing mobility and especially for SAP partners to be able to build and deliver mobile apps in close co-operation with well-know technologies that a core to the SAP roadmap.

Do you want to learn more and become a customer or partner of 2BM Software – Please use this link: https://2bmsoftware.com/contact-us/

2BM Software is a Copenhagen-based SAP cloud Enterprise software solution provider. We offer unique, intuitive user interfaces with features that enables easy, fast, mobile, and offline handling of all SAP maintenance, service and warehouse processes. Our standard software solutions are certified by SAP, available in the SAP APP Store and across an eco-system of SAP Platinum partners in the global United VARs alliance. Our Mobile Warehouse solution was recently accredited as an SAP Industry Cloud Solution and featured on SAP’s website: https://www.sap.com/

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