Kathy Gibson at Saphila 2014 – Mobility has come of age and organisations around the world have recognised the importance of giving their people access to corporate applications and data wherever they are, in a format that makes sense for the environment.
As the enterprise software installed in the back office of many of the world’s largest companies, it’s an issue that bears directly on SAP and its ability to remain relevant and competitive as the world embraces enterprise mobility.
Isac Tjombonde, head of IT at NamPower, outlines how the Namibian power utility NamPower used SAP’s Fiori to enable enterprise mobility.
NamPower’s core business is generation, transmission and energy trading. “Without electricity, there is no development in a country,” he points out. “So we have to ensure that even the poor have access to electricity, in every corner of the country.”
Tjombonde relates how users traditionally accessed SAP systems from a desktop. SAP Fiori is a new user interface on a mobile device.
“Most of us have a handheld device, while few travel with a laptop,” he explains.
The decision to go with SAP Fiori was taken because most executives travel widely or meet outside the office. Implementing SAP Fiori was implemented to reduce the time taken to release purchase requisitions, approve travel expenses, approve travel requests, approve timesheets and to approve leave requests.
“Wherever the manager is, he can perform these tasks,” Tjombonde says.
Importantly, the Fiori project took just two weeks to implement – including server provisioning, software downloads, installation of software and database, and to patch the systems.
NamPower chose five apps to configure as a start. In addition, it did the implementation on a two-tier architecture: development and production.
The benefits, says Tjombonde, are that the implementation was low-cost; it was the fastest and most predictable way to get started; because they are pre-packaged the apps offer instant value; and there is a choice to deploy one of many of the SAP Fiori apps.
It took just 48 hours to install and patch the systems – 24 each for development and production. In addition, it took just two hours for integration and configuration.
The system runs on SAP NetWeaver 7.3, Support Package Level 9, the Oracle database and HP-UX 11.31, all running on the SAP ECC.
When a user presses a button on the Fiori device, he goes via the SAP Gateway, through a trusted RFC, to the SAP ERP system on the back-end.
Why was the project so short and so successful? Asks Tjombonde. “We didn’t try to do things differently to what SAP offers. We stuck to best practice and if that meant changing a process we did so.
“We have run on SAP for 10 years and have tried not to stray from what is offered in the market.”
There are currently 300 SAP Fiori users on the NamPower system, with the option to increase this number in the future.