Product Review: SAP’s Recalls Plus App – The Crossover From Enterprise To Consumer Begins

Published on February 15, 2012 by R "Ray" Wang

SAP’s First Consumer App Addresses A Key Consumer Concern

At midnight pacific time, February 15th, SAP launched its first ever consumer app – Recalls Plus. This consumer app, downloadable for free on Apple’s app store, was developed from one of the world’s leading enterprise software companies (see Figure 1.)  SAP’s first foray into the consumer world will surprise many customers, influencers, and observers.  In fact, in an exclusive conversation with Rishi Diwan, who’s the product owner for the new consumer apps team, he reinforced SAP’s seriousness to enter the market, apply lessons learned, and reiterate.

The basic concept of Recalls Plus is elegant and brings the age old, manual and cumbersome process of tracking consumer recalls to today’s world of engagement systems (see Figure 2.)  With a rich and elegant user experience, consumers can quickly see the latest recalls and share details within social networks (see Figures 3).

In addition, the solution allows consumers to track recalls on individual products, categories of products, and food allergens on their iPhone (today) and other mobile devices (tomorrow) (see Figures 4, 5, and 6.)  More importantly, this consumer app touches the customers of SAP’s customers and provides a missing piece in the customer loyalty angle by providing real-time alerts (see Figure 7.).  By proactively outreaching with end consumers, SAP can help its direct customers build long term loyalty and improve customer engagement.

Figure 1. Sign In Screen Easily Works Like Any Other Consumer Mobile App

 

Figure 2.  Tracked Recalls Show Up On The Initial Home Screen

 

Figure 3.  Recall Details Provide Key Information And Allow For Collaboration

 

Figure 4.  Users Can Easily Create Their Own Watch Lists

 

Figure 5. Watch Lists Can Be Created By Product And Allergen Categories

 

Figure 6. Watch Lists Can Be Created By Age Groupings

 

Figure 7.  Recalls Keeps Consumers Updated With Alerts

 

Enterprise Class SAP Technology Powers Recalls Plus

Underneath the hood of Recalls Plus is a front end created in Objective C in a native iOS environment and a persistence layer powered by HANA.  SAP uses HANA here to track the analytics and big data required for modern engagement systems.  Key questions such as how users share, when are peak usage times, what events trigger virality, what types of patterns can be determined from recall categories, and detailed segmentation analysis require the power of an in memory database.  On the privacy front, SAP’s applied enterprise class privacy and security requirements.  SAP does not store personal information.  Users can deactivate at anytime and all data is removed.  As expected, SAP’s compliant with European data privacy requirements.

The Bottom Line For Consumers (Buyers): Expect More Enterprise Vendors To Provide Enterprise Class Consumer Apps

Instead of waiting for the consumer grade apps to invade the enterprise, Salesforce.com’s Chatter product and their Social Enterprise launch kicked off the first shot by an enterprise software vendor to go after the consumer space.  SAP’s Travel On Demand offering and SAP’s new Consumer Apps offering Recalls Plus also shows the same innovative spirit to capture consumers.  As Consumerization of IT creates a convergence in the market place, expect more enterprise vendors to go after consumers and grow new markets.  The importance of enterprise class and professional grade applications will provide these vendors an advantage, so long they understand the key elements of design thinking and consumer user experience requirements.

The Bottom Line For Vendors (Sellers): The Land Grab For Active Users Accelerates

For some time, SAP’s management team has publicly stated that it was on track to achieve a goal of 1B customers by 2015.  Most observers felt that this was a big, hairy, and audacious goal (BHAG), probably not achievable and designed to rally the troops and maybe the stock price.  Why? Up until now, SAP’s strategy included traditional acquisitions such as Business Objects for big data and analytics and Sybase for mobility platforms.  These large acquisitions brought in new users but not at a pace that would achieve the magic goal of 1B.  Meanwhile, the efforts to grow out the edge applications in the OnDemand Large Enterprise proved to be slow to market.

However, it wasn’t until the Travel On Demand product launch and the move to acquire the largest base of users through Success Factors that SAP finally had the ingredients to achieve the 1B users goal.  Now as SAP applies a design thinking approach to product strategy, the development teams can build applications that have consumer appeal.  More importantly, if SAP continues to address  four of the five major trends in consumer tech – big data, social, mobile, and cloud, SAP has the tools to enter the consumer market and achieve the 1B user target.

Your POV

Are you ready to try Recalls Plus?  Will you buy consumer apps from SAP?  Expecting more vendors to jump in?   Add your comments to the blog or send us a comment at R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) org or R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com

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