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SAP’s new mobile HR apps finally picking up steam

SAP is moving in the right direction with its new mobile human resources apps, but it needs to do more to win customers, according to one consultant.

SAP is moving in the right direction with its burgeoning list of mobile human resources (HR) applications but still lags behind competitors like Workday, which has long had similar mobile applications on the market, according to HR consultant Steve Bogner.

“They need to get their feet wet,” said Bogner, the managing partner of Insight Consulting Partners, based in Cincinnati. “They just need to get them out there, in customers' hands.”

On Monday, SAP officially announced two new mobile applications aimed at broadening the range of HR-related information that employees, executives and managers can access outside the confines of the office.

The new applications include SAP Manager Insight, which lets users access HR data, reports and key performance indicators and collaborate on HR-related projects and initiatives. SAP Interview Assistant lets managers collect and access a range of information related to the hiring process, including applications, resumes and references.

SAP began rolling out HR mobile software last spring in Orlando, Fla., when it announced four applications at its annual SapphireNow convention, including SAP Leave Request, SAP Timesheet, SAP HR Approvals and SAP Employee Lookup, which allows managers to access employee information within the ERP system.

All six of the applications are due out in the fourth fiscal quarter of this year, according to SAP.

Bogner said that he looked forward to SAP moving past this initial round of mobile applications into ones that were a little more cutting-edge. That includes integrating SAP HANA and in-memory technology with mobile applications, a scenario that makes sense because users want quick access to results when they're out of the office, he said.

One example might involve SAP lending mobile support to its in-memory Strategic Workforce Planning application, Bogner said. The software lets users strategically model how their workforce will look -- or should look -- in the months and years ahead based on their specific strategic plans and other factors. And because it runs on the high-speed HANA appliance, companies can update their models in seconds.

“I think that would be a great thing,” Bogner said of mobilizing Strategic Workforce Planning. Beyond that, he said he added, SAP should be thinking of applications that neither its competitors nor its customers had thought of. “I think they’ll get to that, eventually.”

David Ludlow, group vice president of SAP’s human capital management division, said that the universal need for HR applications in general is a primary driver behind the mobile applications. 

“HR is one of the more unique application areas since it touches every single employee in the organization,” Ludlow said.  “We feel there is a tremendous opportunity for SAP as well as our customers to be able to reach more and more users, especially with employee self-service.”

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