SAP is adapting a handful of its mobile applications to run on Windows 8, potentially giving the new Microsoft operating system a boost on mobile devices.
SAP, which is holding its Sapphire Now conference in Madrid, Spain, this week, also disclosed plans to support Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 development on the SAP mobile platform, the vendor's software for building mobile applications.
Microsoft launched Windows 8 last month and the availability of applications that run on the redesigned operating system will be a major factor in how quickly businesses and consumers upgrade to it.
"We are very pleased with the commitment of SAP to Windows 8," said Erwin Visser, Microsoft senior director of Windows commercial, in a statement. He noted that the SAP mobile applications would take advantage of the new Windows user interface "and will help our customers be even more mobile, secure, productive and efficient."
The mobile applications SAP is making available for Windows 8 cover a range of sales, training and recruiting processes and will run on devices with various form factors. The applications will be available in both Microsoft's Windows Store and the SAP Store.
The mobile applications include SAP WorkDeck, software SAP developed first for Windows 8, for "contextual integration" of information sources and processes into a role-based view. It allows managers to process workflows, such as travel, leave and purchasing requests.
Other mobile applications SAP adapted for Windows 8 are in the human resource management realm. They include SAP manager insight, which provides managers with information about a company's workforce such as headcount, diversity and talent by location; the SAP learning assistant employee training application; and the SAP interview assistant recruiting and interview scheduling application.
Rounding out the list are SAP customer financial fact sheet, which provides sales account managers with information about sales orders, invoices and other financial data; and SAP GRC policy survey, which allows employees to review company policy changes and respond to surveys about them.
SAP said it also plans to develop applications for Windows RT, the version of Windows that runs on ARM-based tablet computers, and Windows Phone 8.
SAP is also taking steps to make its SAP mobile platform available for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, a move the company said will support the development of third-party applications for those operating systems. A free trial version of the platform is available through the SAP community network. And this week SAP began offering its Afaria mobile application management system for Windows 8.
The vendor also announced the first steps to combine its enterprise applications with the Ariba Network, the supplier network and applications SAP acquired last month when it bought Ariba for $US4.3 billion. SAP launched several "rapid deployment solutions" that use SAP's NetWeaver integration technology to connect Ariba with SAP supplier relationship management and procurement software.
"The vision is for Ariba to connect with all of SAP's applications," said Karen Master, a spokesperson for Ariba, citing SAP's CRM applications as a logical target. The integration also allows users of Ariba's applications to tap into other SAP systems, such as its business analytics and mobile software and HANA in-memory computing system, she added.
SAP will stop selling several of its supplier-related applications to new customers and will sell comparable Ariba applications instead. SAP will continue to maintain and support its applications: Sourcing OnDemand, Contract LifeCycle Management OnDemand and Supplier Management OnDemand, through the end of 2015.
SAP also unveiled a new partner initiative, the SAP NetWeaver cloud applications partner program, to provide development tools and support to solution providers and ISVs who develop cloud-based packaged applications that can access the SAP NetWeaver cloud service.