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CodeTalks are Go!

Guys

Just to let you know that I’m currently recording some SAP CodeTalks that will e available on the SAP Comminity Network YouTube Channel, in its own Playlist

CodeTalks are bite sized interviews on technical subjects, mostly with video demos. I’m using Google+ Hangout technology to record both myself & the interviewee… so you get to see us!

Check out the latest here with Matthias Steiner on NW Cloud & GitHub

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

The Most Strategic Weapon in Your Mobile Arsenal

Nowadays Mobile should be at the centre of your corporate strategy, if it is not then you are probably missing out on some major cost saving and streamlining benefits to your business through innovation to your Information Workers. Though going mobile is not a magic bullet, the major challenge is delivering brilliant experiences at a time of increasing device proliferation and experiences that are innovative. In the words if the late and great Steve Jobs… Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower! But fear not you have a unsung hero at your beck and call! In fact one that will be more than eager to help. Let me explain further.

When you are planning a mobile project it is best to plan ahead by gathering together a group that we will call the Mobile Innovation Council (MIC) – covered in past articles. This group’s goal is to originate and proliferates end-to-end solutions across all your business units in your Enterprise. Then the most strategic weapon in your mobile arsenal, within the MIC is the Prosumer. The Prosumer is a experienced Consumer of Mobile and a Professional in your Enterprise. Through their day to day usage of mobile technology, they have an understanding of what can be achieved and expect the same experience from Corporate built Apps and App Stores that they get daily from the Consumer world.

NOTE: The Prosumer in the Mobile Innovation Council, will not be one specific person but a persona that could well be shared amongst a number of the MIC group. Saying that, the most powerful individual for each Mobile Project will be a prosumer that is a business user for the Mobile App being developed in-house.

So how do we solve the challenge of delivering brilliant experiences? The answer is the Prosumer (empowered with business knowledge), in combination with Design Thinking, being at the core of your in-house Enterprise Mobile Developments, within the Mobile Innovation Council.

If Design Thinking is new to you, it is all about, being able to…

  • Design from outside in, think of what the Prosumer/End Users wants include the advantages and benefits that can be achieved by a mobile app.
  • Do not let technology lead the solution. Think in this order… Meaning > Solution > Product > Technology.
  • Understand, observe and listen to the point of view of the end users. They have the business knowledge and know what currently works, or does not work. Also think about living a few days in the life of your end user.
  • Do not be afraid to fail cheaply and repeatedly. It is all about learning and building on that learnt knowledge. As in the early stages of the Design Thinking Process, deciding to reiterate through the process cost a whole lot less that having to recode a solution after development has started.

Remember that Design drives innovation, innovation powers brand, brand builds loyalty, and loyalty sustains profits and happy Prosumers.

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

This blog is moving, please follow me

My collegue Rob Verschoor put it so well, I’m using his blog post…

As you may (or may not) have heard, and may (or may not) have guessed, stuff is moving over from sybase.com to SAP’s community platform, SCN (scn.sap.com). www.sybase.com is not going off the air anytime soon, but many areas are in the process of being moved over. That includes my sybase.com blog that will be automatically migrated for me.

In order to do certain things at SCN, you may need to register. This is free, quick and easy: at scn.sap.com, click on “join now” at the right-hand side and select “public user”. (NB: just in case you’re wondering, you’ll find that going to scn.sap.com actually takes you to sdn.sap.com, which stands for ‘SAP Developer Network’, a previous incarnation of the SAP community platform).

So, please follow me to my blog space at SCN:http://scn.sap.com/blogs/ithain See you there!

Take Off for Mobile at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid

Tickets at the ready, Passports at the ready… Euro’s bought? Well its finally upon us and all the SAP folks you will be meeting next week in Madrid are packing and getting ready to jet off!

I expect to see lots of Tablet devices in Madrid… iPads, Galaxy Tabs & probably quite a few iPad Mini’s as thy have been available now for a week in some countries. Just like at TechEd in Las Vegas, it seems that most folks now rely on the lightweight, small for factor and powerful Mobile Tablet devices as their ‘weapon of choice’ and the laptop is now just a portable desktop machine. We really are now in a mLifeStyle!

Here’s an excerpt from one of my previous blogs in the Mobile section of SCN

Is there anything worse than being shut in a metal tube at 38,000 ft with no communication to the outside world for many hours? This has been the case for years, but for the International Business Traveler it could be classed as a ‘perk‘ of the job and a necessity for the holidaymaker. For the Business Traveler, it can be a number of precious hours to catch up on… practicing or creating presentations, report writing or offline emails (or online). For the holidaymaker, boring hours trying to keep sane and waiting for the flight to be over! For me in either situation the Tablet, such as the iPad, is the idea device with exactly the functionality and form factor I need, in such a limited space…But are we seeing the birth of a New Seatback?

On my last international trip to SAPPHIRE in Orlando, during the flight I noted the large amount of iOS devices, the majority iPads, being used on the 8hr 40min from the UK. These devices were being used in lieu of the inflight entertainment systems, even on my flight with Virgin Atlantic, which boasts a modern fleet and some of the most innovative in-flight systems. It seems to me that the new darling of the skies is a tablet device that far outperforms the games, films and music systems that are offered on today’s airlines (I have heard of some airlines already renting tablet devices to passengers).

Obviously the user has to have currently planned ahead somewhat, deciding what to entertain themselves with, but looking ahead I wonder how long it will be until we have a feature onboard to stream from an inflight server, at a price of course! In addition will we also have on device Companion Apps that will show more detailed flight stats & location on a map, give us the ability to order tax free goods and drinks etc. This could all be made available with the growing presence of inflight wifi access which is slowly becoming a norm.

But to end… Over the last few months I have been giving you my suggestions on what to attend but you can still check out the sessions at http://www2.sapevents.com/SAP/madrid/index.cfm?fuseaction=agenda.sessionCatalog&view=sessions&savedFilter=525

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain & make sure to sop me in Madrid to say ‘hi’, if you see me on the show floor and around the event!

Mobile is… Where the rubber meets the road at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid

Mobile is now looked on, by the corporate decision makers, as a strategic factor, a necessity, rather than an item on an accountant’s spreadsheet. It gives access to corporate data when & where it is needed. Business is now looking at ‘Mobile for the Masses’, not just for a select few of C-Level Management employees as it may have been in the past.

The opportunities to be gained from Mobile are, the ability to mobilize business processes, enabling transparency, zero latency of information and the agility of

the worker with competitive data at their fingertips, be it anytime & anywhere. These allow companies to engage with its customers, supplier and end consumers etc. Mobile enablement gives a competitive edge to a company and a leading position, using such a forward thinking initiative.

The great advantage of mobile devices and the applications that run on them is the fact that they can be used anywhere and at any time. This is a boom point for

mobile Information Workers, but once that important data is collected, its worth is not beneficial to the company, in its mobile form. Whilst it is on the device it

is just another island of information. It is not until it is unlocked, by bringing the data back into Enterprise data stores or systems, that its full potential can

be exposed.

Mobile is… Where the rubber meets the road and you will be able to see at SAPPHIRE NOW, what SAP can help you achieve, to RUN LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

There is still check out the sessions at http://www2.sapevents.com/SAP/madrid/index.cfm?fuseaction=agenda.sessionCatalog&view=sessions&savedFilter=525

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain & take a look at @SAPMobile

Mobile Apps have to have the look at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid!

During the next week in Madrid you will hear a lot about Design Thinking… It is as easy as ABC and all about getting the best result & user experience for the end user. Remember this phrase…

Design drives Innovation, Innovation powers Brand, Brand builds Loyalty and Loyalty sustains Profits!!!

Branding and Corporate Identity is another part of the Mobile Application UX that will be important from 2012 onwards. Compliance to a standard corporate visual design helps to build a consistent look and feel for your brand, that you have already have spent time and money on.

Now you must visualise the look that the Mobile Application will be designed around. Nowadays we can take a number of approaches, such as Paper, Pencil & Stencil and digital means. I prefer the digital way forward. There are a number of Applications that aid iterative RAD/Agile design processes such as Balsamiq Mockups, AppCooker (iPad Application), Blueprints (iPad Application), iMockups (iPad Application), App Layout (iPad Application), Mobile elements available for PhotoShop, Illustrator and Fireworks.

Ensure your Mobile Applications have a very native/common user friendly and very productive environment, one that your Prosumer will expect from there interaction with other Mobile Applications. In turn this will inspire Confidence and Trust.

**** At SAPPHIRE NOW make sure you check out the User Experience area on the show floor & speak to the folks there! ****

Finally to be complete… Test, Review and Refine, just as before but with Mobile Applications this is more important as you are going to have one shot before your Mobile Application is compared to all the others available on the public and private App Stores (such as the SAP Store & those that Afaria can help you supply).

Your Mobile Application should be Amazing, Beautiful and Compelling even if it is a Business App.

For great examples check out what SAP has created at SAPPHIRE NOW

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain and check out @SAPMobile

Is this the Fastest Mobile Device Around at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid?

At the last SAPPHIRE I attended in Orlando this year I was interested to listen to an on stage interview with Ron Dennis, Executive Chairman of McLaren. I already knew that SAP had sponsored the F1 team but was unaware of the how far SAP’s Technology was being utilised in their day to day operations… From Analytics to Mobile, across all aspects of the McLaren group of companies.

If you did not know already, SAP is helping McLaren run like never before and at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid I am hoping you will get the chance to check out probably the fastest mobile device around the Vodafone McLaren F1 car via a display on the show floor along with another vehicle on an awesome stand!

Back to the Formula One car… Telemetry data is fed over the air from the car’s sensors back in real time and SAP HANA is helping run analysis against this huge amounts of data to help the engineers make the best decisions. Check out http://sapsponsorships.com/sports/mclaren-f1

Intreagued and want to read more? My Collegue Timo Elliot has a blog here with a video and graphics showing more… http://timoelliott.com/blog/2012/09/mclaren-shows-the-way-telemetry-for-your-business.html

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain and check out @SAPMobile

Guiding the Mobile Developer at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid

SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid will be your perfect opportunity to be guided by the Industry Leaders in Enterprise Mobile. Hopefully you have been checking out my blogs here over the last few weeks or more & have already put together your agenda to get the most out of the event and to get yourselves in front of the key Mobile folks from SAP?

As a Mobile Evangelist in the Developer Relations Team at SAP, I have contributed to the ‘Mobile Developer Guide to the Galaxy’, from Enough Software (http://www.enough.de/products/mobile-developers-guide/). In fact we at SAP are so committed to the Mobile Developer, we have sponsored the book. The Chapter I have written is all about Enterprise Mobility and you can download a PDF version from the above URL. The rest of the book covers various Mobile technologies in a quick start matter, you have got to see it to believe it! It is awesome!

As part of our commitment to the Developer we have the Developer Program on http://developers.sap.com and my colleague David Brutman will also be presenting an overview of the Developer Program during SAPPHIRE, so make sure you get time to find out what else we are doing to help speed up the process of learning new technologies. It is called ‘Learn Best Practices for Developing Innovative Mobile Apps’ and will be in the MicroForums Discusssion area on Wednesday afternoon and repeated on Thursday morningI will also be there with David!

Check out the sessions at http://www2.sapevents.com/SAP/madrid/index.cfm?fuseaction=agenda.sessionCatalog&view=sessions&savedFilter=525

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain and also follow @SAPMobile

Take a Test Drive & Exhibit some Mobile Apps Interest SAPPHIRE Madrid

One thing that we are very proud about at SAP is our EcoSystem of Partners.

In Mobile they are building Apps that expand the portfolio of the SAP Store and a SAPPHIRE NOW in Madrid we are very happy to say that a number of these apps will be show in and around the show floor. The Test Drive Tables in particular will show Apps from

  • Capgemini
  • Atos UK
  • HP
  • AgilityWorks Limited
  • Tieto
  • 2BM
  • Provide HCM
  • CSC
  • HCL Axon
  • Wipro Technologies
  • EPI-USE
  • BDO Unicon Business Solutions
  • Mahindra Satyam
  • Accenture
  • Sovanta AG
  • Ciber
  • Kofax
  • Liquid Analytics
  • CCS IT ServicesGmbH
  • Ecenta AG
  • Fair Value Com
  • Proaxia Consulting Group AG
  • DS-Group
  • ExpertIG
  • Gicom GmbH
  • MSC-mobile

Phew!

We also have other partners in the Exhibit Hall showing Mobile Apps, so make sure you check out the Test Drive & Exhibit Areas!

The current exhibitor list can be found at http://www.sapphirenowsapteched.com/exhibitors.aspx

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain and follow @SAPMobile

Check out the Mobile Platform at SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid

Mobile is an exciting place, fast moving, also hard to predict and an enterprise mobile strategy has to be able to evolve and should be planned from the offset as one that is heterogeneous.

There are many issues that you could come up against if you take the approach of developing thin, rich or thick client applications for specific devices. Many device/OS vendors have developed broad mobile application development toolkits that are focused on their own single-platform development rather than multi-platform development. If you are building for two or more devices, this can get very complicated. Some of the issues are, higher development costs where skills must be maintained for multiple platforms, tools and, in some cases, programming or database languages complexities – authentication, application updates, standardisation (e.g. of DBs) should be consistent across applications. That is why a lot of the smart money is on the Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) that should support many facets of developing mobile applications, on many devices, with many datasources such as existing systems and therefore eases considerably the above issues.

Planning and developing mobile apps for the times that a data connection is not available is essential and has a by-product of saving money as unlimited data plans disappear, and we start to feel the true cost of being connected. This ‘always available, occasionally disconnected’ development paradigm, that promotes local secure storage with bi-directional secure synchronization of data.

Synchronization has to be bi-directional; it has little or no benefit being one-way. The analogy would be having a mobile phone where your handset only had a microphone and no earpiece/speaker. The devices have to be refreshed with relevant or up to date data and the updated or collected data has to be sent back. Usually data for mobile applications, especially if they are enterprise mobile applications, will be subsets of enterprise data that resides on back-end systems. These subsets will be of the datasets as a whole, as well as being restricted by the profile of the Information Worker. Think of a huge system, not all data would want to be mobilized, maybe some customer & order data, but not payment records etc. Also the whole database of customers will not be required and would be restricted by the customers that each individual Information Worker interacts with. The exchange and storage of the data, has to be secure, as corporate data is your most prized asset. Building an agile system/infrastructure that can cater for different back end systems will also be another major challenge for a developer, along with a conflict resolution mechanism.

So this is a task that that is usually best left for a MEAP. Then you as the mobile developer can concentrate on the business logic and an innovative mobile application that extends your systems out of the traditional business environment.

Get along to these sessions…

MB4497 Consider This When There is No App for That
MB4502 Learn Best Practices for Developing Innovative Mobile Apps
MB4673 Deploy a Mobile Platform in Weeks Safely and at a Predictable Cost
MB4495 Choose the Best App for You, Whether Native, Hybrid Web Container, or HTML5
MB4449 Develop Engaging Mobile Apps with the SAP Mobile Platform

Check out the sessions here http://www2.sapevents.com/SAP/madrid/index.cfm?fuseaction=agenda.sessionCatalog&view=sessions&savedFilter=525

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain and also follow @SAPMobile