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Four Ways that SAP is Embracing SoCloMo (Social, Cloud and Mobile)

The world needs another piece of tech jargon like I need a hole in my head.

Still, I like SoCloMo, created by the smart fellas at Aberdeen Research, because it captures in rhyme three out of four of today’s key enterprise computing trends – Social, Cloud and Mobile.*

While SAP’s roots are in 80s-era client-server computing, we are busily re-inventing both our products and our internal technology for the SoCloMo era.

On the latter internal side, here are four ways, as shared with me by SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann in an interview last week.

1. On Cloud, SAP is starting to roll out SuccessFactors internally. The acquisition of Successfactors was finalized just three months ago. Since then, its cloud-based Human Capital Management software has been rolled out to more than 1,500 employees in Ireland and North America, said Bussmann. Starting in July, Bussmann’s team will start rolling out all 19 modules of SuccessFactors, including the mobile dashboard, to all 50,000+ employees at SAP worldwide.

“It’s a really nice front-end that will make information about yourself much more accessible” to SAP co-workers, Bussmann said.

Deploying SuccessFactors and other HR/HCM-oriented apps to on-campus employees is part of the third stage of Bussmann’s mobilization plan. The first two were getting devices into employees’ hands and getting business analytics and salesforce automation apps into the hands of executives and salespeople, respectively.

2. On Social, Bussmann is leading by example. Bussmann believes that Generation Y’s habits are changing intra-company communication, not the other way around.

“It will be less about e-mail, and more about text messaging, about Facebook, to Twitter,” he said. He also believes that influence inside of a company will be earned by employees the same way it is earned in the social world today – by making yourself heard and building up your network through intelligent contributions.

Unlike some CIOs, Bussmann is not strongarming SAP employees to dump e-mail or radically alter their behaviors. He prefers to lead by example, by blogging regularly, tweeting multiple times a day, and gathering nearly 5,000 followers on Twitter. It’s why Bussmann was recently ranked the most socially active CIO among the Fortune 250 by social software vendor, harmon.ie. By its scale, Bussmann had 9,824 points, far ahead of the number two, the CIO of Google. Bussmann was also recently awarded the distinction of European CIO of the Year, in large part because of his social activity.

(By the way, Bussmann will be speaking at four different talks and presentations at our SAPPHIRE NOW conference in Orlando next week. His first talk, “The Big Five: How SAP Aligns its Strategy with Key Innovations,” will give a broad overview. Another, “Drinking Our Own Champagne: SAP Moves to the Cloud,” will be on the cloud, while two others will focus on mobile. Those talks were already on my list of the 11 Most Intriguing Mobile Sessions for SAPPHIRE NOW.

Also, Oliver and I will be co-hosting an SAP TweetChat from SAPPHIRE NOW on Wednesday May 16th at 1 pm ET/10 am PT. We’ll talk about SoCloMo, BYOD and any other acronymed enterprise technology you care to discuss. Click here to download the calendar invite which you can then add as a reminder in Outlook, Notes, etc.)

3. On Cloud, SAP has built its own enterprise-friendly alternative to DropBox. Announced last November by Bussmann to this very blogger, the cloud storage app is called SAP Box, and it is one of nearly 50 apps available to employees via SAP’s own Enterprise App Store, called the App Gallery. It has been downloaded 5,400 times since January, said Bussmann, and lets users easily and securely exchange up to 2 GB of files between iPad, iPhone and Windows PC. “People love it,” he said. The Afaria mobile device management (MDM) application will integrate SAP Box so that it can be offered to external customers, too.

4. On Mobile, SAP continues to execute ambitious plans. SAP is well-known for having one of the largest iPad and iPhone deployments around. Bussmann hopes to deploy up to 20,000 iPads internally by year’s end. On Android, 1,000 employees are already using Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Those users can download the 50 apps available via SAP’s App Gallery, as well as the 40 other beta apps in SAP’s app “playground.”

SAP also plans to invest in building and using apps running on Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8, said Bussmann. SAP will show off a test version of a mobile CRM app running on Windows 8 at SAPPHIRE NOW. Bussmann also said that apps from another recent acquisition, Syclo, “are definitely on our radar screen,” and hinted that apps based on RIM’s coming BlackBerry 10 operating system are, too.

* If we want to add Big Data, perhaps we could rename it to SoCloMoDa?

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