The Pain Point with Mobile Apps
With the ever-increasing reach of mobile devices the growth in consumer and enterprise apps is surging. Everyday thousands of apps are published targeting the needs of enterprise users and consumer sectors. These apps could be anything from business related to entertainment, games, news, and so on. But publishing an app isn’t the end game. These apps still need to be maintained and upgraded, analytics reports need to be pulled, and drill-downs into any errors must also be performed.
To add to the complication, there are a handful of different mobile operating systems that an app must support if it wants to serve various users. Each mobile OS requires individual maintenance and analytical reporting, updates and update notifications, and security management. Imagine the burden a company must cope with for a single app that runs on either Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, or Microsoft’s Windows smartphones.
This effort piles up tremendously for managing and troubleshooting just a single app. Now, what if a company has two or more apps?
SAP Mobile Platform to the Rescue
SAP Mobile Platform, or SMP, is an offering from SAP to its partners and customers for deploying quality mobile apps online as part of SAP’s On-Demand strategy. These apps could belong to an array of categories such as Business to Customer – B2C, Business to Employee – B2E, and Custom apps. SAP Mobile Platform’s model is considered as “Mobile-as-a-Service” or MaaS for short.
SAP Mobile Platform is a one of a kind Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP). SMP simplifies cross-platform mobile app development and aids in rapidly delivering secure and highly scalable business and consumer app for all major mobile operating systems.
SAP Mobile Platform assists developers in building on-demand and lightweight apps to extend SAP’s existing enterprise solutions as well as to complement them. SMP provides interoperability via openness, and at the same time, offers integrity and security features that are essential for supporting mobile apps running in a distributed network environment. Geared with the right tools, services and infrastructure, the SAP Mobile Platform helps you quickly establish and maintain your apps with ease. This simplifies the necessary administration of apps and aids in troubleshooting via logs and traces.
SAP Mobile Platform Features
For App Development and Consumption:
- Supports native and HTML5-based app development using the REST API service, Appcelerator and Sencha.
- Centralized admin dashboard for configuration and management of mobile apps.
- Reliable, secure, and easy-to-consume business systems that run on-premise or on the cloud.
- Faster deployment of SAP and custom productivity apps.
- Supports multi-tenancy for managing development, testing, and production landscapes.
- Eliminates the necessity of installing on-premise mobile platform servers.
What makes SAP Mobile Platform stand out?
SMP is one of the most agile and open Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAP), allowing developers to use the tools and the SDKs that they prefer for rapidly building and deploying apps on most devices, desktops, and wearables.
SAP Mobile Platform provides the ability to:
- Pitch a mobile first, enterprise-grade experience to your employees, customers and partners.
- Deliver business and consumers apps that are simply amazing, both on-premise and on-cloud via a single MEAP.
- Leverage a robust set of libraries and services to accelerate app design and innovation.
- Customize mobile apps that are pre-built/pre-packed by SAP and 100’s of development partners.
- Deploy apps that are built on SMP into the SAP Store, reaching out to thousands of SAP customers.
SAP Mobile Platform Functions
- Mobile App Development
Use of a common SDK to expedite app development and deployment. Additionally it offers APIs and supports offline services including OData services.
- Offline OData Service
Simplifies the task of developing offline apps with the use of OData services; an open protocol and industry standard.
- Open Development Platform
Allows app developers to use their preferred tools, SDKs, and frameworks to build native, hybrid, and mobile web apps. With the Open Development Model, the developers are free to make use of latest SDK to develop apps for varied devices such as mobile, desktop, and wearables.
- Cross Platform Mobile App Development
SMP’s latest support packages and APIs streamline app development for iOS, Android, and Windows, both on-cloud and on-premise.
- Mobile Application Services
SMP’s services assist in seamlessly integrating and linking up existing systems to deliver innovative mobile apps that are both consumer and employee-oriented. The HTML5 admin console offers complete visibility and management capacities to IT department that can be accessed from any device.
SAP Mobile Platform’s Competencies
- SAP Mobile Server 3.0 Feature Management
SMP Server 3.0 lets you manage functionalities, features, bundles of various product builds and installation. Optional custom features can also be enabled to meet the requirements pertaining to a certain environment.
- Data Integration in SMP
SAP Mobile Platform Server 3.0’s Integration Gateway component offers standardized data integration across various back-ends. It supports SAP as well as non-SAP back-ends with non-OData REST services, SOAP, JDBC, and OData process integration. Core platform services are also offered using Java and Restful APIs.
- Security Administration
Seamless end-to-end authentication and security policy integration is offered by SAP Mobile Platform Server. Even without VPN, it is possible to configure end-to-end authentication from client to back-end system. The server makes use of the standard HTTPS protocol for integrating into existing security landscape without causing any disruptions.
- Application Versioning
Application versioning feature is available for hybrid apps. Older versions of the apps are still maintained within the platform, while a newer version of the hybrid app is uploaded and deployed by the SMP Server.
- Logs & Traces
SMP maintains logs and traces of the apps running on various devices. In an event of any kind of fault or error, the admin can look into the logs and traces to find out the source and nature of the issue, to effectively troubleshoot it.
SAP Mobile Platform SDK
The SAP Mobile Platform SDK empowers developers to speed up app development through a common SDK that facilitates standard services and APIs. Thanks to the open development model, the developers get the leeway to opt for tools that they prefer for building native, hybrid and mobile web apps. Therefore, the app development speeds up and the productivity soars when the developers get to use the framework and their preferred tools.
SAP Mobile Platform SDK allows:
- Easy exchange and interoperability among multiple mobile devices and traditional back-end systems.
- Creation of enterprise grade apps which run on mobiles, desktops, and wearable devices, on a single development platform.
- Employees to access essential applications pertaining to the enterprise using either personal or corporate devices.
- Native OData App Development
SAP Mobile Platform provides support to develop OData apps with the use of OData APIs along with an additional API to choose from, depending on the mode of connectivity i.e., either online app or offline app.
The OData API contains the following:
- OData Store API – this describes how the OData requests are sent to and received i.e., either synchronously or asynchronously.
- Payload API – this describes payload-related information such as entity, link, property, etc.
- Metadata API – this includes the OData Metadata that describes the structure of the data, feed, and resources.
- Hybrid SDK (Kapsel) Development
SAP has introduced a plug-in called as Kapsel, which leverages Cordova app container to provide SAP plugins, making the Cordova container an enterprise-grade app. Kapsel plugin offer various capabilities for Logon management, Authentication, Offline capability, Push Notifications, etc.
SAP Mobile Platform Deployment Options
SMP is available in both on-premise and on-cloud edition.
- SAP Mobile Platform Server 3.0 (On-premise)
While using SMP on-premise, the SAP Mobile Platform Server 3.0 is to be used. The latest service pack for it being SP 11. While using the on-premise edition, the company has to maintain the landscape that is responsible for applying upgrades with latest service packs.
- SAP HANA Cloud Platform Mobile Services
The cloud edition run on top of SAP HANA Cloud Platform. In cloud edition, the periodic updates are taken care by SAP, which reduces the company’s IT management burden and the customers tend to enjoy the latest upgrades as and when it happens. Cloud edition helps in significantly reducing TCO thus providing centralized access.
The Bottom Line – Advantages of SAP Mobile Platform:
- Life Cycle management of mobile apps is made easy.
- User management is simplified
- Manage apps on multiple mobile OS platforms simultaneously
- Provides analytics and reporting
- Maintains Logs and Traces which are essential for RCA and troubleshooting in case of errors.
- Logs and Traces provide significant insights in the usage analytics for Up-scaling, landscape alteration, finding causes of app and system failures/crashes.
- SDKs provides APIs and for data exchange.
- Kapsel plugins empower app capabilities by accessing device core functionalities, plugins and APIs.