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SAP sees strong MDM demand to meet BYOD trend as BlackBerry use wanes

25 Oct 2013
SAP building

SAP has revealed that it now has 700 customers trialling its mobile device management (MDM) suite Afaria in the cloud as firms scrabble to manage the bring your own device (BYOD) trend.

SAP first launched the cloud version of the tool in May, and the firm’s vice president for mobile strategy, Bill Clark, told V3 that interest has already been strong.

“We have hundreds of enterprises who have signed up for Afaria in the cloud that are now in various stages of monetising those deals. At the last count we had 700 enterprises that are currently evaluating the platform,” he said.

Clark also revealed that some major customers are using the on-premise version of the tool, including 12 enterprises with over 100,000 users and one with “nearly a million users”.

Clark did not mention any names but said the customers were mainly in the government and financial services sectors.

The demand for MDM tools has been driven by the BYOD trend, he explained. Particularly, Clark said that the fall of BlackBerry within many firms and government agencies has meant there are now many more devices that need managing.

“Government agencies would previously dictate an all BlackBerry strategy. But, as the market moved and there was angst around the future of BlackBerry, we have seen some agencies say they are going BYOD,” he said.

“Once they open the floodgates it only takes about three to four months to go from 100 percent BlackBerry use to about 20 percent BlackBerry use.”

Clark said that while this is dramatic the continued use of BlackBerry by some proves there is a “stickiness” around its devices: “Some people still love the form factor, love the mechanical keyboard and so the sun has not fully set on BlackBerry,” he said.

However, Clark refused to be drawn on whether a deal for BlackBerry would make sense for SAP. “It’s not really appropriate for me to comment on that,” he said.

Nevertheless, with SAP touting its MDM technology and BlackBerry pushing the uptake of its BES 10 platform as its one area of success over recent months, such a deal would seem to make sense.

Earlier this week SAP announced a raft of new products at its Tech Ed event in the US. These included an update to its Mobile Platform to version 3.0 to offer more tools for developers to build apps on the platform.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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