SAP announces Windows 8 app plans

This caught my eye because there are so many SAP users in Australian education institutions, across schools, TAFE and higher education. Many education organisations are using SAP for their financial and HR systems, and a challenge for these conventional ERP systems is to make them more user-friendly – especially as so many employees are using self-service systems for every day tasks.

As an ex-SAP user, anything which helps users get at their data and workflows in SAP more easily is a great thing, and this announcement of SAP Windows 8 apps, featuring the clean, modern, touch interface is a really good sign of support by vendors of enterprise-grade systems for Windows 8:

  SAP today announced plans to deliver six new SAP mobile apps for Windows 8, bringing new innovations for SAP customers. SAP also announced forthcoming support for Windows 8 development on the leading SAP Mobile Platform, as well as security enhancements to the SAP Afaria mobile device management solution. Through these apps, platform support and security enhancements, SAP plans to extend business processes to Windows 8 to accelerate a business’ ability to run better with devices of various form factors.  

They announced plans for six business apps for SAP running on Windows 8, for use on different types of Windows 8 devices, focused on key functions such as training, HR recruiting and sales. These mobile apps include SAP WorkDeck, which will be developed first for Windows 8. It’s a new app described by SAP as being:

  A new persona-centric app that offers contextual integration of various information sources and processes into a role-based view. SAP WorkDeck allows employees to initiate new requests, oversee upcoming events and monitor the progress, as well as enables managers to react and process workflows on-the-go, such as travel, leave and purchasing requests.  

In addition, they are going to be producing five more SAP Windows 8 apps:

  • SAP Manager Insight: an employee profile app that provides managers with access to key indicators, such as diversity, headcount, employee talent by location, as well as employee profiles, to drive collaborative and informed human resources (HR) decision-making.
  • SAP Learning Assistant: a training app that gives on-the-go workers tag-along teachers. It makes on-demand, online training available anytime, anywhere so workers can access required classes to address compliance and job requirements.
  • SAP Interview Assistant: a recruiting app that eases the cumbersome task of arranging interviews. It also helps managers review candidate information, prepare notes, record results, and provide immediate feedback to HR.
  • SAP Customer Financial Fact Sheet: a customer profile app for account executives to access financial data, invoices and critical sales orders in real time.
  • SAP GRC Policy Survey: a policy app for employees to review and acknowledge relevant policy changes and fill in surveys to ensure they understand the policies.

SAP Manager Insight screenshotAccording to SAP these apps aim to take advantage of the touch capability and features of the new Windows user interface, such as zoom, tiles and Snap mode, enabling users to easily interact with SAP data. Sebastian Kramer shared this screenshot (right) of the SAP Manager Insight demo on Instagram, which gives a good idea of how different the apps looks from previous SAP screens.

All mobile SAP apps for Windows 8 are planned to include a trial mode to allow customers to be able to download the apps from the Windows Store and evaluate them before purchasing.

And there’s also work happening on the SAP Mobile Platform, to support creation and deployment of mobile apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. SAP intends to enable the large community of Microsoft developers to quickly create apps (HTML5 and JavaScript) using Visual Studio, as well as enable developers to access SAP Mobile Platform services for enhanced security and authentication, user/device/app provisioning and push notification to help ensure a consistent user experience across devices of different form factors on a single platform.

Hopefully the vision will make it easier for employees to be able to create expense claims, sign off approvals, get training etc, whilst they are away from their corporate systems and corporate network.

Learn MoreRead SAPs press release about Windows 8 apps