The unveiling of the new Surface tablets from Microsoft on Monday captured the attention of many, particularly those focused on the consumer PC market. Depending upon how the devices are priced when they come out in October, they could be a real threat to the iPad which has become a real enterprise tablet device across many companies. The Surface tablets could replace the laptop as we know it; finally imagine business computing capability in a device small and slim, with the same level of usability and flexility (it better have!) that we now look to the iPad as the standard.
For those of us who have been focused on the Enterprise IT space, this is huge. Companies are struggling with the smart device issue – what standards to set, how to manage devices, how to manage apps on multiple platforms. How does the Microsoft enterprise customer leverage the software they already own within a mobile platform solution?
Anyone who has been to any big software conference in recent years can attest to the broad use and marketing of the iPad as an enterprise device with LOB data and transaction integration. But now, the new Surface devices can change the game, finally. Frankly, it has been long overdue. I can see it now…at SAPPHIRE 2013, SAP session leaders will be using Surface tablets running Microsoft software running apps with SAP transactional capability. Of course the iPads will still be there, but it won’t be just iPads. And those Surface tablets won’t just be running native Windows mobile apps to surface SAP transactions or data. They will be running HTML5 based mobile web applications. That’s right, HTML5.
At Enterprise Cloud Connect™, we are, of course, still invested in the native mobile platforms as we have several leading apps today for the iPad, iPhone and Android, such as mobile paystub, mobile HR approvals, and mobile time entry. But we are also excited about our new HTML5 mobile web app version of the Enterprise Cloud Connect™ suite for SAP HCM coming out next month. Now we can support Windows 7 mobile and Blackberry devices. In fact, our mobile platform solutions going forward are all based on HTML5. We create the native versions based on the HTML5 base, and either launch hybrid apps, or we can go full native. That way, we can cover all major devices within the enterprise.
Looking ahead to the fall months, the Enterprise Cloud Connect™ suite will be able to run on Windows 8 and the rich HTML5 capabilities from Microsoft due later this year. And, of course, Enterprise Cloud Connect™ should run perfectly on those cool Surface devices. We are looking forward to it. And so should Microsoft enterprise customers running SAP.