Ericsson and SAP: Putting the Cloud in Managed EMM Services

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • The Ericsson-SAP alliance yields the global telco and IT channels to accelerate business adoption of enterprise mobility management (EMM) apps
  • The alliance advances SAP’s strategic competitive objective of countering Oracle, IBM and HP in both the IT and telco realms

Ericsson and SAP extended their alliance to target the burgeoning EMM market segment. The new EMM solution combines Ericsson’s IT managed services with the SAP Mobile Secure product to enable cloud-based implementations of Mobile Secure. The move supports operator objectives in winning more enterprise mobility business as consumer mobility revenues become less predictable due to factors such as expanding OTT consumption and intensified competition. However the Ericsson-SAP EMM alliance needs to navigate three channel challenges in order to be successful in the EMM space over the next three years. These include:

Avoiding Upfront Over-Hype Marketing Cycle: Ericsson and SAP tout that their combined solution is designed to enable enterprises, regardless of size, to help promote, publish, and configure apps for all stakeholders, both on non-managed and managed devices, within minutes. If the aggressively promoted minutes become hours (or even days) then Ericsson/SAP partnership faces the risk of public relations fallout. Achieving such levels of efficiency comes with experience and establishing well-known processes. New alliance initiatives typically lack such efficiency upfront and could require some trial and error before the minutes threshold becomes fully baked. Enterprises could very well decelerate turning to operator managed service packages to meet their EMM needs if they form the impression that managed EMM packages don’t work as advertised.

Cloud Security Uncertainties: While the Ericsson/SAP solution squarely invokes support of mobile security, as evidenced by the SAP Mobile Secure brand name, the launch shared almost no details on cloud security specifically. The recent iCloud security breach, exploiting a mobile device locator security hole, brings to the forefront the paramount challenge of avoiding cloud security breakdowns within operator environments, especially for managed services aimed at EMM environments. The prevalence of Apple iPhones/iPads among workforces, including bring your own device (BYOD) realities, compels both operators and enterprises to voice their real concerns about cloud security. In fact operators have identified cloud security uncertainties as the single most important potential barrier to more rapid adoption of network-enabled cloud solutions (please see 2014 OSS/BSS Investment Trends: Top Operator Drivers and Priorities, July 24, 2014). Ericsson and SAP appeared to have missed a timely sales and marketing opportunity to push market awareness of the cloud security dimension and details of their cloud-based mobile security solution more aggressively.

Can Operators Scale SaaS for EMM Apps?: The Ericsson/SAP alliance delivers the global channels and portfolio diversity required to give operators the confidence to promote managed cloud-based EMM packages toward enterprises. But many SaaS implementations have become dogged by data integration challenges, especially integration of the SaaS software with legacy data systems (i.e., premise-based). The cost of resolving overall data integration logjams can prove costly blowing a hole through the expected savings from migrating to a cloud-based model. Ericsson and SAP must prove they have learned lessons from prior SaaS implementation that can help operators avoid integration cost overruns within the nascent cloud-based EMM arena. With the expansion of their alliance, Ericsson and SAP position themselves to drive operator deployment of cloud-based managed mobile security services aimed at enterprises: EMMaaS! The alliance also delineates SAP’s commitment to advance competing as the “anti-Oracle” in both the enterprise and operator realms as well as the IT and cloud realms. Now Ericsson and SAP need to produce the use cases that prove are they up to the task of managing and scaling EMMaaS for operators.

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