SAP, going mobile, seeks retail appeal

SAP, the German business software giant (also owner of Hana database-ware, SuccessFactors HR software, etc.) whose American headquarters is in Newtown Square, wants to be "the Apple of enterprise mobility," SAP mobile boss Sanjay Poonen tells BI Intelligence's Julie Bort here.

"SAP is building a few consumer apps" for Apple iPhones/iPads and Android phones, "such as fantasy fan apps for the NFL (Jets and Giants) and the NBA...

"Through its $155 million venture capital fund, SAP is investing in mobile startups—with a preference for startups writing mobile apps that use its Hana database...

Plus, "SAP is on the prowl for mobile companies to buy or partner with."

Says Poonen: "Among our 200,000 customers, there's at least a half a billion employees, maybe closer to a billion," all potential direct customers. "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 are through mobile devices. Many of them don't have desktop computers. They may not know or care who SAP is."

SAP also plans to leapfrog PC culture in those countries where PCs never quite caught on: "For instance, we sell a mobile banking solution in significant parts of Asia to banks." Customers of Dutch-Bangla bank can use SAP as their main banking software via their mobile phones.