SAP AG and Salesforce.com Differ on Approach to Windows 8

Enterprise acceptance is critical for Windows 8. App development on the Windows 8 platform by enterprise applications giants like SAP, Salesforce and Oracle would in no small measure, help Windows 8 deployments in many industries.

We look today at two firms with so far, very different approaches to Windows 8, namely Salesforce and SAP America.

Let’s start with Salesforce, whose mercurial CEO Marc Benioff had uncomplementary things to say about Windows 8 a few months ago. Here’s what he said;

Windows 8 is a catalyst or “gambit” for CIOs, forcing them to say “am I going to Windows 8, or am I going to something else,”

Years ago, “a common phrase was, ‘the Windows 7 upgrade cycle,’” Benioff added. “You’re not going to hear about the Windows 8 upgrade cycle. I’m not saying that as a big, aggressive statement against Microsoft, that’s just the reality of today’s environment.”

Windows has become “irrelevant,” being displaced by next-generation LTE wireless networks that will “disintermediate” the need for WANs and LANs, along with “all of these great services that are available right off the cloud.”

He also cited a global CIO who he said he recently spoke to.

“Her goal is to get rid of all of the PCs,” Benioff said. “She doesn’t see a demand curve from users for PCs.” Instead, the CIO is hoping to move to a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) approach, Benioff said. Next-generation mobile devices have “forced CIOs to make changes already”.

OK, we know that so far, these statements look like those of a biased executive whose business model depends on the death of the fat client to reach its full potential.

In addition, we know that that despite not being as enthusiastically deployed as Windows 7, Windows 8 is far from irrelevant, with millions of licenses sold.

So I decided to at least, check to see if Marc Benioff was putting his money where his mouth was i.e., refusing to deploy Windows 8 apps. I examined on Salesforce’ mobile webpage to see what platforms were available for its main app, salesforce.com;

Well, give the man his props, his actions are at least consistent with his statements. I see iPhone, Android and even the sinking Blackberry, but to Windows 8, at least, not yet.

I then looked at another company’s approach to Windows 8; SAP AG.  On their website, SAP outlined plans to offer six mobile business apps for Windows 8 for use on devices of various form factors focused on enterprise functions such as training, recruiting and sales. The apps include:

  • SAP® WorkDeck, developed first for Windows 8, is 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.
  • SAP® Manager Insight is 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 is 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 is 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 is a customer profile app for account executives to access financial data, invoices and critical sales orders in real time.
  • SAP® GRC Policy Survey is a policy app for employees to review and acknowledge relevant policy changes and fill in surveys to ensure they understand the policies.

All well and good.  The only issue is that so far, only the Customer Financial Fact Sheet app seems available from SAP’s website.  The other apps are only available on the iPad.  So there is a disconnect between SAP’s intentions, announced weeks ago, and their actual app delivery.


However, this is still better than Salesforce’s approach to Windows 8, which is to write it off entirely. What do you see in terms of ERP and Enterprise App providers support for Windows 8?  Share your thoughts below.

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