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SAP for Mobile

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Worldwide, SMS-based mobile messaging continues to evolve and innovate. Nowhere is this more apparent than in A2P or enterprise messaging. Numerous analysts have forecast that enterprise messaging (or A2P messaging as it is sometimes called) will continue growth and prominence through at least the rest of this decade. Why is this?  SMS is still the most ubiquitous, far-reaching messaging channel in the world and will remain so for quite some time. While there are a growing number of non-SMS messaging/social media options (WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and many more) virtually all of them require both the sender and receiver to be using the same solution, thus leading to significant fragmentation – notwithstanding that many of these non-SMS chat apps are and will become significant “A2P channels,” going forward.  Otherwise, SMS continues to show strength in that regard.

Blog Image - 2016.05.02 - 3.png

So why is it important that SMS messages are routed correctly? The global SMS ecosystem consists of separate, logical Application-to-Person (or A2P) connectivity network – one where mobile network operators (MNOs) have approved, and in many cases, monetized, this type of mostly commercial and non-human generated traffic. Traditionally, the A2P network uses separate connectivity from the general conversational or Person-to-Person (or P2P) connections. The reasons for this are numerous; however a significant reason is that it helps to control spam and grey route traffic over the P2P networks.

Wait?  What do I mean by “grey route traffic?”  Grey route traffic is typically A2P SMS traffic that attempts delivery outside of approved A2P connections or routes into the MNOs. Grey route traffic tries to leverage the P2P network and ubiquitous connectivity to avoid MNO fees or approval processes.  Much of it attempts to take advantage of MNOs, aggregators, and even senders. As the ability to reach consumers through SMS is immensely valuable, there are numerous messaging aggregators and service providers that use a variety of tactics to attempt to circumvent MNO-supported routing standards.   

Unapproved routing puts businesses and consumers at risk

When unscrupulous messaging aggregators try to circumvent operator-approved and monetized routes, they put

Blog Image - 2016.05.02.png

the business who is paying for the messages at substantial risk, due to non-delivery of these messages. The mobile ecosystem is becoming increasingly vigilant against so-called “grey route” traffic and is deploying SMS firewalls as well as more aggressive spam control measures.

This practice also increases the risks to consumer by exposing them to potential spam and/or fraudulent messages (phishing attacks, etc.).  There are a growing number of unscrupulous, do-it-yourself SMS websites that promise low prices per message and bulk messaging.  These services can typically cater to anonymous senders and the sites use a variety of methods to hide the messages among legitimate P2P messages and connections. 

The sites may also leverage SIM farms – an organization that leverages thousands of SIMs (or Subscriber Identity Modules), connected to computer servers instead of mobile devices – to send large amounts of messages. They may also be used by unscrupulous senders to send unsolicited messages to large numbers of consumers with the further goal of obfuscating just who the sender is.  The messages appear as if they are legitimate P2P messages – the originator is a phone number of a mobile operator (from which the SIM cards are from). SIM farms are also attractive to some businesses because they are very cheap and messages from them may be bounced from service provider to service provider in order to avoid legitimate operator connections – hence is why the routes they use into MNOs are known as grey routes.

MNOs don’t like SIM farms and do take measures to shut them down.  Additionally, when they are uncovered as sources of mobile spam, they can be shut down by authorities.  In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent body set up to uphold information rights takes enforcement action against SIM farms and nuisance calls and spam texts.

What is behind grey route trends?

Most of the world’s MNOs apply termination fees to SMS traffic entering their network from another network through standardized agreements.  Termination fees were put into place in early days of SMS as a measure to help control spam. While that goal was accomplished to a point, as SMS traffic continued to grow, the underlying SS7 networks were left relatively open as there are various types of signaling beyond SMS that must flow between MNOs.  In the P2P messaging world, traffic between two MNOs is typically balanced – meaning conversational – termination fees effectively cancel each other out.

Grey routes will many times take advantage of national P2P traffic, by setting up shop within a targeted country.  Many times, originators will be outside of the country leveraging thousands of “local” or national phone numbers of SIMs in the SIM-farm allowing the message to appear as a P2P message bound for subscribers with a local origination number.  This practice breaks the balanced nature between the operators, but since each number may be used only a small part of the time, it gets through various types of filters that the destination operator has in place. This is but one example of how legitimate A2P or enterprise messaging traffic can suffer as it is travels several hops into the destination operator.  Enterprise customers may pay lower price, but the traffic has a relatively low chance of delivery and due to multiple hops, there is no way to validate the message even made it to the destination. Consequently, many enterprises are getting heavily fleeced by these bad actors as they are billed for messages sent – not ultimately delivered. Because of the lower prices that many “bulk messaging aggregators” are able to support via SIM-farms and other vulnerabilities, this practice most definitely attracts spammers that will send unsolicited messages to subscribers without their consent, violating laws and regulations in most countries.

Mobile Operator benefits of trusted message routing

Trusted messaging aggregators, like SAP Mobile Services contract directly with MNOs and other trusted aggregators to provide approved routes to mobile operators.  These service providers offer the highest quality routes to mobile operators – many, if not most – with such features as handset or network delivery receipts. Additionally, when working with each MNO, trusted aggregators may be able to negotiate termination rates that enable the aggregator to then pass along favorable pricing to enterprise customers.

The physical connection to the operator may be through the global SS7 network, or now, more than likely, through direct, secure IP connections, and more increasingly, IPX connectivity.  Whether connected through IP or SS7, the sender and the aggregator are recognized by the MNO and as such, traffic from this source will be prioritized and delivered.

Blog Image - 2016.05.02 - 2.png

Trusted aggregators will also work to insure that traffic delivered to the MNO is from trusted sources and can filter any traffic that is not. If an MNO requests that all of their incoming traffic – especially international traffic – flow through the aggregator, they can stem the bleeding of revenue due to uncontrolled inbound messaging through unmanaged SS7 channels.  With the addition of an SMS Firewall into an MNO’s ecosystem, the MNO now has a valuable set of tools available to manage their network and traffic, while protecting subscribers from unsolicited messages.

This point is further emphasized as in many countries, MNOs are increasingly being held accountable for non-solicited or spam traffic reaching their subscribers. For example, in India, the regulator TRAI amended regulations calling for a Rs. 5000 for every SMS spam complaint.[1]

Enterprises and Brands benefit the most from trusted routing

Shutting down grey-route and untrusted, multi-hop SMS routing certainly benefits the MNOs, but it is the end-customers – the enterprises, brands, and other organizations who are sending the messages – that stand to benefit the most.  These are the organizations that pay the money to send messages and they expect and deserve a high conversion rate[2].  When messages are sent through low-cost providers, these organizations are lulled into thinking that their messages will all reach their intended destinations. Furthermore, many organizations rely on high conversion rates to reach their target ROI on the messaging investment. Low cost or “too low to be true” is just that – too good to be true.  Enterprises will never reach target conversion rates.

The concept of consent – that is, the end-users consenting to receive certain commercial SMS messages is at the center of most legal issues around SMS messaging. If an organization’s messages are received by an MNO’s network and there is not a readily identifiable sender address, then many of these messages are very likely subject to being blocked as spam since they cannot be readily identified, regardless of whether the end-subscriber consented to receive these messages.

Enterprises that use SMS for marketing must comply with a growing array of regulations such as TCPA in the United States,  Canada’s Anti-SPAM Law (known as CASL), TRAI regulations in India, and the ICO regulations in the UK, to name but a few.  All of these have provisions around identity and consent; however, by simply trying to avoid lawful MNO termination fees, they are already on the wrong foot and at worse, can be subject to legal troubles.

Finally, one of the most important reasons for using trusted routes to mobile operators is for delivering two-factor authentication (2FA) tokens to subscribers. Those suppliers and messaging providers that use “cheap routes,” and those that may take advantage of grey routes, do a major disservice to the overall concept of 2FA over SMS. One of the biggest complaints about 2FA over SMS is that many times the delivery rates are low.  This can be heavily mitigated if the 2FA providers would simply use approved routes into mobile operators. In our own experience, we see successful delivery rates of many millions of 2FA tokens into operators around the world at success rates greater than 97%!  But, we use approved operator routes. It is not our policy to use grey routes, but instead, we rely on our own direct, approved routes into our mobile operator partners. 

The bottom line is:  Yes, it very much does matters what route a message takes to reach a mobile operator and the consumer. There are legal ramifications as well as quality – whether simple notifications or high value 2FA PIN codes.


[1] http://trai.gov.in/WriteReadData/WhatsNew/Documents/Press%20Release%20on%20UCC_Final.pdf

[2] Conversion rate: A measure of successful SMS respondents vs. the number of messages sent. In other words, how many end subscribers responded or acted on the message the received.

If you are the first time to use the Agentry Backend System and want to add a notification with attachment and transmit the data from Backend System to Agentry Client successfully, this quick start guide will be good for you.

Note: All the contents of this article are the minimum requirement on this topic.



  1. For the Work Manager Application Part
    1. Install the work manager 6.3 and deploy it on the SAP Mobile Platform https://websmp204.sap-ag.de/~form/handler?_APP=00200682500000002672&_EVENT=DISPLAY&_SCENARIO=01100035870000000122&_HIER_…
  2. For the Agentry Backend Part
    1. Create a work center and associate with a existed plant
    2. Assign your personnel id to this work center
    3. Associate your Backend user with the personnel id

For the Agentry Backend part, you can follow the link below for the reference if have any query.



Test Environment:

SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 SP10

Work Manager 6.3

WPF Agentry Client v70.11.0


Step by Step guide:

Log on the Agentry Backend ERP system and run the Transaction code /SYCLO/CONFIGPANEL and open the web page.


Select “Mobile Application Configuration” and choose the work manager 6.3 application. Press “Client Globals” tab and change the ‘Attachment.Synchronous’ setting’s value to ‘Y’ if the content was “N” before, also the active flag should be clicked.


Run the Transaction code IW21 to create notification, choose a notification type and click the notification button to enter the detailed setting screen.image008.jpgimage010.jpgimage012.jpg

Input name in the notification title field, scroll down the list to the bottom of Notification tab, navigate to Responsibilities’ field and enter the Plant number, Work center and the Personnel id who has been associated with this work center.image014.jpgimage016.jpg

Click the save button and make sure the notification has been created successfully.image018.jpgimage020.jpg

Run the Transaction code IW22 to edit the notification created before and press the Notification button and enter the detailed information screen.image022.jpgimage024.jpg

Click “System” in the header and select Service for Objects -> Create -> Create Attachment.image026.jpgimage028.jpg

Attach one of each file with following format: .doc, .xls, pdf, .ppt, jpg, .bmp,.gif, .png,.txt and save.image030.jpgimage032.jpg

Close the attachment screen, press “put in process” button to publish the notification and save the notification.


Run the Transaction code IW23 to display the notification modified before and click “System” in the header and select Service for Objects -> Attachment list. Make sure the object has been attached successfully.


Open the WPF Client and log on the Backend User, input the work manager 6.3 application path URL in the SMP Admin Cockpit and start to transmit data. image042.jpgimage044.jpg

Select notification tab on the client and we will see the new notification has been uploaded to client from backend system. Press the attachments option in this notification and the attachment should be there with “Not Downloaded”.image046.jpg

After press the download button, the downloading process bar would popup on screen. After finishing the transmission, we should find that the attachment status has been changed to “On Device”.


Click the downloaded button, this attachment would display on the client directly or remind you to save it in the local folder depending on different format.image054.jpgimage056.jpg


Related link:



Check out our new  CIO Guide : Enterprise Mobility


Mobile devices are everywhere, making supercomputing accessible anytime – often as cloud services and applications – and making high levels of security a standard in this mobile environment.

Enterprises are looking for more and more ways to capitalize on these facts. While this mobile trend offers tremendous opportunities, it also increases the pressure on IT departments to define a coherent mobile strategy.

This  Guide discusses the need for an organization-wide mobile infrastructure to provide enterprise-grade solutions. It is aimed at CIOs, IT managers, Architects, Experts and Project Leads who are considering new or substantial growth in their enterprise mobility initiatives and are not yet caught up in the day-to-day details of their company’s ongoing mobile activities.


SAP provides a complete portfolio of solutions for mobile app development, mobile app management, and mobile device management.

These capabilities can be deployed either on premise using SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) or in the cloud using SAP HANA Cloud Platform.


I hope our Guide will give you direction and guidance on your way into the Digital and Mobile Enterprise.






Best regards,


SAP Afaria 7.0 SP13 has been released and is available for download in the SAP Support Portal.

Please check the Readme for further details. The Product Documentation will be updated shortly with the SP13 documents.


If you would like to stay tuned on the latest news around Afaria, you may want to watch this wiki page to receive update notifications.
Hint: You need to be logged on in order to have the "watch this page" option available.

At the 2016 Facebook’s F8 Developer’s conference, a new no-password login solution was announced called Account Kit.  Account Kit is designed to be an alternative login facility for people who either don’t want to use a social login such as Facebook or a non-password login. Users are given a choice between either email or their mobile phone number as their “identity.”  After providing one or the other, a one-time code is sent via email or SMS to their mobile device.  Access to the account is then granted.

facebook account kit 1.png


I initially thought this was Facebook’s way of usurping the GSMA solution called Mobile Connect – an alternative to the one-button Facebook login. But upon further reflection, it is not.  As the GSMA site notes: “Mobile Connect is a secure universal log-in solution. Simply by matching the user to their mobile phone, Mobile Connect allows them to log-in to websites and applications quickly without the need to remember passwords and usernames.”  So, that sounds a lot like Facebook Account Kit on the surface.Mobile Connect.jpg


Let's dig a little deeper.  First off and foremost, Mobile Connect does not share any information with enterprises / sites (AKA “service providers”) without explicit permissions. No such assurances are in Account Kit. In fact, the service provider (e.g. site or app using Account Kit) has complete access to the Email Address or Phone Number the end-user provided as well as the Facebook-generated account ID (which would not overlap with a Facebook social account ID).  Bottom line, it is certainly not an anonymous login. While users don’t have to have a Facebook social account (like is required for the one-button Facebook login button that is common), it is unclear how Facebook will use the acquisition of all of these phone numbers and email accounts that don’t have an associated Facebook account.


Now it should be noted that Account Kit is free for up to 100K confirmation SMS per month; however, most sites/apps will quickly exceed that if they achieve any prominence, whatsoever.  Also, users must continually re-provide their phone number/email and receive the code each time they log in. This is not a one-button login for subsequent logins, after the initial registration (unlike the Facebook login, Mobile Connect, and other one-button logins). Some of the initial press was comparing Account Kit to Twitter’s Digits – a similar solution; however, Digits also provides some higher-security options such as a 2nd-step verification code among others.


Facebook Account Kit can be characterized as the 2nd-part of two-factor authentication without the first factor – something you know and only you know – a password.  This is not a secure login. I’m a little concerned that people are swapping convenience for security. Imagine a non-passcode locked phone with numerous apps with accounts set up using Account Kit.  Information in those accounts or associated with those accounts would be wide open, should that un-secured mobile device be stolen. If app/website providers are going to offer this, they are also vulnerable.  Account Kit, is at best, one-factor authentication – leveraging something you have – the mobile device. In today’s environment of privacy and security, I’m surprised this solution is as vulnerable as it is less secure than a user-id and password. Just because both of these password-free login solutions send a one-time code via SMS (a very valid side-channel for true 2FA solutions), doesn't make them a full two-factor authenticated and secure login solution.


That said, the vulnerabilities are not limited Account Kit.  As noted, Twitter Digits is quite similar; however, it too has the same issues should an app/website not implement additional security measures. These days, if any site or app requires account creation where something is for sale, that means that account should be locked down tight – protecting the account which might contain financial instruments to enable purchasing as well as private information about the users. These password-free, single-factor login solutions are convenient, but they lack significant security and can end up harming the user and the business that implemented it.

After install the Agentry SAP ERP backend following the guide below:

       Guide Part 1 https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-71310

       Guide Part 2 https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-71321

       Guide Part 3 https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-71246

       Guide Part 4 https://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-71247

You may want to start your journey to play with the Agentry client.

However when you try to transmit for the first time, you may have the error as below:

"com.syclo.agentry.BusinessLogicException: No personnel id found for user XXX"


There is a way to bypass the personnel ID, you can refer to the SAP KBA https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2287101 for more details.

But if you do not configure the personnel ID in your backend system for your mobile user, then you can never get the work order you created in the backend system to your device.

I draw a picture to show the relationship about the personnel ID.


In the picture, you can see the most important thing to get the work order on device is that we have to map the personnel ID and the user ID to let the device know the work order is sent to him not others.


I will give you a simple example to show the difference between the personnel ID and the user ID.

The User ID is like your name in the company, it will be printed to the card for you to access the door of the company. Like in the Agentry backend, the user ID is used to log into the system and also configure the system.

But in your daily work, you may have an identify number, the number is the real one that represents you in your work. In Agenty, it is not enough only getting the user ID, you also need a personnel ID which is generated by hiring operation. The ID is used for everything related to the work. You have to map your user ID to your personnel ID, so that the device will know they represent for the same person.


In the picture, you can see the number from ① to ⑤. That is the order to configure the system. I will give more detail information during the configuration of each part.

Part ①: Hire an employee using TCode PA40.

Here are the two SCN thread that related to this part:






Choose a number and click on “Hiring”. After input the needed information, you can get your personnel ID which is “17”.

(There is a range of the number and you can set. Please refer to the SCN link for more details.)

Part ②: Assign the employee you hired to existing user using TCode HRUSER.

(Your mobile user or backend user)

Choose the one in the red box.


Just click execute button and you can choose the user you want to assign.


Now you can transmit with your client and you will not see the error again.

But if you want to get the work order, please go ahead.

Part ③: Create a work center using TCode CR01.


Please remember to choose the personnel ID in the HRMS part.



This means your user has been added to the work center now.

Part ④: Create a work order using TCode IW31.


Please remember to choose the personnel ID of your user and the work center that your user is in.

Then click on release.


Part : Maintain the parameters in the user profile using TCode SU3.



Now you can transmit on your device or WPF client to check whether you can get the work order or not.


Please note, it is tested in my environment and it is almost the minimum requirement of the configuration. Please check more if you need more function.

The March/April Mobile Secure/Afaria client has been released to the Google Play store and is now available.  The client build is 9986


PLEASE NOTE: The Afaria app has been renamed to "Mobile Secure". MS enrollment processes will direct users automatically to the correct client on Google Play. More details will be made available in the What's New for the release section on Google Play.


Latest Android client updates for SAP Afaria are listed in the following KBA: 2297852

In this blog , we will take a look at different aspects of User Management in SAP Mobile Secure .


There are two types of users that we can create : Managed and Unmanaged .

Managed users can manage their own devices which need to be registered with mobile secure before any apps can be downloaded on them . This allows

for admins to better control these devices and wipe or lock them if required .


Unmanaged users on the other hand need not register their device with mobile secure and therefore cannot  manage their own devices .


Let us now take a look at the process of creating users in SAP Mobile Secure .



From the Account drop down , select Users to see the following screen -



We can enter various details and then move to the next tab ( Roles ) . Every user will have to be provided with the role , "Mobile Place user" . We can also provide other roles if  required .



We can assign the user to groups if required ( on the Groups Tab )


In the last ( Settings) tab , we can configure some settings for the user User3.JPG

We can set the suer to be a Managed or an Unmanaged user.

We can decide when ( new apps added / current apps modified ) to send updates over email to the user .

We can now save and the newly created user will receive a registration email . Once the user has registered , the admin can see the entry :User4.JPG


Please note that there is now a user name against every user . Also take a look at the roles assigned to each user .


How does a user register his/her device ?


This question is best answered by going through the following videos . It has been explained very well in them . Please see the video on iOS first followed

by the one on android . These videos are also available on the landing page of SAP Mobile Secure . You will also be able to see some features of device management by an end user .




Tracy Barkley

iOS 9.3.1 Support

Posted by Tracy Barkley Apr 1, 2016



iOS 9.3.1 support has been announced for the following products.  Mobile Secure 1603, SAP Afaria 7 Service Pack 11 and Service Pack 12. The device system requirements will be updated to reflect support. 

Hi Guys,


Below is the coding for sap.ui.unified.Shell in JS which might help you in the coding.




     // Creating the Head Item

     var oHome = new sap.ui.unified.ShellHeadItem("oHomeDashboard", {

                                                                           showSeparator: true,



                                                                           tooltip: "Return To Home",

                                                                           press: function(){





       // Creating the User Item

       var oEmployee = new sap.ui.unified.ShellHeadUserItem("oEmployee",{

                                                                             username: "My Name",

                                                                             image: "sap-icon://person-placeholder"



       // Creating the logout function

       var oLogout = new sap.ui.unified.ShellHeadItem({

                                                       showSeparator: true,


                                                       tooltip: "Logout",

                                                       press: function(){





        //Placing all item to the Shell

       var oHeader = new sap.ui.unified.Shell("oHeaderDashboard",{

                                                        headItems: oHome,

                                                        icon: "http://openui5.org/resources/OpenUI5_logo_only.png",




Hello Everyone,


If you are using Fiori Client 1.6.2, or SMP 3.0 SDK SP 11 PL02 please continue reading.


Currently the Fiori Client 1.6.2 in the Google Play Store has a product issue where when the user tries to login to it, Fiori Client hangs. This happens with the Fiori Client from Google Play Store or a Custom Fiori Client built from the Kapsel SDK having a Kapsel version of SP 11 PL02 or higher. SAP has identified this as a product issue and a fix has been implemented. It will be available in the Google Play very soon for the Fiori Client as well the SDK fix will be available in the SAP Service Market Place.


Please refer to the following KBA, 2299625,  that address the Fiori Client issue and KBA 2296764 to address the SMP 3.0 SDK SP11 PL02.



Thank you

SAP Mobile Secure is an end to end Mobile Device  and Application Management solution from SAP .

In this blog post , I will touch upon its application management aspects .


SAP Mobile Secure can be used an Application Catalog . An admin can upload applications , categorise them and enable them to be downloaded by users .

Let us first see how an admin can upload applications to the catalog .


Login to portal.sapmobilesecure.com and click on Add Application


The different types of applications that can be added are shown in the screenshot below -


Enterprise Application is any Native or Hybrid Mobile app that you might want to add to your catalog .

Web Application can be an application that you might have deployed to HANA Cloud Platform and which now you want to distribute using Mobile Secure

Commercial App Store app is an app from App Store , Play Store or alike . These can be added to the catalog and distributed via Mobile Secure

Let us take a look at commercial App Store first . We can make a selection as shown in the following screenshot :


This would allow us to incorporate any application from Google's Play Store into our Application Catalog .

Clicking on Next would show the following :


We can now start typing the name of the application and will be shown suggestions from the respective app store . We can select one of these suggestions




After selecting the desired app , we can now configure other properties of the app .



Details Tab - We can provide a Description under the Enterprise radio button . A user will see this description while browsing the catalog . If we do not provide a description here , the default description from Play Store/App Store will be used .We can also mark an app as Featured app causing it to be highlighted in the catalog .

Groups Tab -We can add the App to a Group which will cause it to be shown only to users assigned to a particular group .

Multimedia  Tab - Under the multimedia tab , we can assign an App Icon and a banner image if the app has been marked as a Featured app .

Categories Tab -We can define categories and every application can be assigned to a particular category .

Owner Info Tab - We can also add co-owners under this tab .

Supported Platforms Tab - This will show the supported platforms for the app . Please note that if the same app needs to be sourced from App Store and Play Store , we need to create two different apps in our catalog  , one pointing to App Store and the other to Play Store .


Once we are done with the changes , we need to press Save . Please note that the app has not been published to the app catalog at this point of time . For this we need to Set App to Production as shown below :



Once we click on Set to production , the app will be visible on the app catalog as shown below .


User can click on an app to see the details and download the app to his or her device . Please note that the download option will only be visible on a mobile device/tablet and not on desktop .




We can upload applications of other types in a similar manner .


We can remove an app from the catalogue using the Retire option . Once an app has been retired , it can be deleted from the list of apps . This is shown below .Retire.jpg





Supporting an enterprise mobile app brings in a whole new set of challenges.


Let me exemplify with a some of the key characteristics you'll meet:


Mobile devices

  • Multiple operating system (iOS, Android, Window phone)
  • Multiple different version of each operating system
  • Large variation in form factors and screen size



  • Common with network issues caused by poor network coverage in areas or unstable wifi connections


Users and user experience

  • Extreme variation in the mobile experience and maturity of your users
  • Hard to resolve support incidents directly over the phone (no screensharing for example)
  • User are using the app outside company offices and outside normal working hours
  • Very high expectations on user experience (comparable to consumer grade)
  • Varying precedence and experience with user interaction patterns for mobile



  • Increased degree of application logic being done in the front-end (offline usage is a common scenario)
  • Javascript as an untyped and interpreted language
  • Requires more experience to debug apps



  • Typically stateless due to scalability concerns
  • User may not have latest version of the app, so back-end needs to support multiple front-end version
  • In a multi-client SAP environment, customizing may vary from client to client



The sum of all the above underpins the complexity of supporting your app users. In many ways it's a whole different ball game to what we're used with traditional enterprise software solutions.


Understanding your users


In order to give good support, you need to understand how users react when they encounter an unexpected situation preventing them from completing a task. The best way of gaining this understanding and empathy for the user is to perform user testing on early prototypes, new features and existing functionality in production.


When doing user testing, you'll recruit representative users and observe as they are as asked to complete realistic task in your app. Make sure the recruited users cover varying degree of mobile experience, new hires vs seniors and with varying domain experience. These should not be people you ask just because you know them from before.


Performing user testing is a mature competence area within user experience area, and you can also use it for acquire quantifiable metrics. However, the basics can be quickly grasped and the benefits compared to cost in a mobile project can be staggering.


In order to spread this understanding, make sure everyone involved in implementing and maintaining your app join one or more user test as silent observers.


So how do users react when encounter an unexpected situation preventing them from completing a task?


Based on my experience and extremely non-scientific gut feeling, I would assign the following actions and likelihood:

(this assumes the actions in the app can also be completed through other less efficient methods such as a portal solution)


  • Scan the screen for recognizable content or clues - likelihood ~100%
  • Restart the app or phone - likelihood ~80%
  • Try again tomorrow or later - likelihood ~70%
  • Ask a colleague or friend - likelihood ~60%
  • Complain to a colleague or friend - likelihood ~40%
  • Lookup help documentation on intranet - likelihood ~25%
  • Submit a support incident - likelihood ~10%
  • Give up in the end unresolved- likelihood ~50%



The first takeaway here is that there is a "hidden iceberg" of situations where users of your app cannot complete the task they would like.

They're basically stuck, but the users are still unlikely to contact whatever support you have in place.


This is great news if you only care about support costs. Never has it been more simple to avoid helping your users. But how does this affect user adoption?

Unhappy users will spread their frustration within their personal network and make it less likely their co-workers will actively use the app both now and in the future.


And as your user adoption basically stands still or even reverses, you'll see the business case crumble as the app is in essence worthless without user adoption.


The main takeaway is that the success of your app depends on how well you support your user, so make the support functions as accessible as possible.


Providing app support


As an enterprise, you most likely have a mature support orgorganisation with a single point of contact and ITIL-based work processes and system support.

Use it and make sure to:

  • Train support organisation in what to expect when supporting a mobile app
  • Make them enthusiastic about the app
  • Build up a common knowledge database with guides to common unexpected situations the users may face with the app that can be shared quickly
  • Get your ITIL problem process up and running so the root cause for incidents can be found and resolved quickly


From the app you need to make it as easy as possible to reach this support organisation.


Support feature #1 – Calling your support desk from the app

From the help menu of your app you should provide highly visible option to call the support desk. When clicked this should automatically dial the correct number and put the user in contact with your support organisation from your mobile phone.




It's still hard to resolve such support calls directly over the phone as there is no screen sharing, however you sending a message that you are accessible and really are interested in aiding your users.


Support feature #2 – Send incidents directly from your app

The second feature I would recommend, is to allow the users to send a support incident directly from the app. This incident should be routed to your ITSM support system such as Solution Manager and be handled there.




What’s important here is to collect all the information you need to reproduce and then resolve the incident. Asking the user to provide this in written text is not an efficient way of doing this.It’s also error prone as it can sometimes be hard to remember the exact actions which was taken before an error occurred.


Therefore, we detect as much of this information automatically. Logged on user, operating system type and version, app version and screen resolution are all detected and included automatically in the incident.


In addition, we’ve implemented a standard logging practice and framework throughout the app. This log includes:

  • How the user has navigated between various screens
  • Exact timestamp which can be cross-referenced with any SAP logs
  • Any uncaught javascript exception which may have occurred
    (since javascript is an untyped and interpreted language there is no compile/activate phase and a single typo in an executed code branch is enough to throw an exception which the app may not handle)
  • Failed network request and other network related issues


The log itself is persisted in local storage, so even if the app crashes we’re able to retrieve details required to reproduce the incident.


Additional logging elements can be added through SAP transports if we have a reported error we’re unable to reproduce.


Proactive support


In addition to making your support organisation as accessible as possible, there are other actions you can do to help the user.


Onboarding help for apps is hotly discussed topic. Overlays which explain the interaction patterns are normally not recommended as explaining your interaction patterns do not make them more intuitive. However, a general introduction shown on the first use of the app which focuses on the benefits the user can achieve adds value.




Monitor dumps in ST22 and other error logs in SAP on a regular basis. Reach out to the users who have experienced the errors and let them know what you are doing to resolve the root causes. As most errors are never reported to the support organisation you need to be proactive in seeking out the hidden iceberg cases which are affecting your users on a daily basis.



Thanks for reading this blog and please add your own experiences on how to support mobile apps in the comment section below.


PS the screenshots in this blog are all sapui5-based with additional styling inspired by Google material design

Ok, this is definitely a late 2016 predictions article – especially since it is the week after Mobile World Congress 2016.  But, in my defense, not THAT much happens until after MWC, so maybe I’m not cheating so much.  This is my ninth (yes 9th!) annual prediction blog posting.


As we do year after year, we check last year’s results, before I delve into what I think the coming year will bring.  In past years, I’ve done okay – In 2014: 67.5% correct, 2013: 75.5% correct, 2012: 66% correct.



Let’s look back at my 2015 predictions to see how we fared:

[1] Messaging continues to evolve as the number 1 used service – whether that is through SMS, non-SMS messaging apps, or in contextually-specific circles.  SMS as a medium will continue a slow decline, worldwide as a P2P channel.  In the United States, overall SMS traffic will drop slightly (no more than 3% Year over Year) mostly due to larger iOS market share (iMessage effect).

The reality:  According to Business Insider, messaging apps have eclipsed social media apps. Enough said, there. In terms of P2P channels, SMS traffic in the United States did drop almost 3% from 2014, based on our own traffic analysis.  100% correct.


[2] Messaging as a consumer engagement channel, including SMS will remain a bright spot with more growth as consumers realize the benefits of simple notification messages. Other channels (e.g. push notifications, mobile wallets [e.g. Passbook]) will be used more intelligently by marketers to reduce push-notification fatigue that many smartphone users experience.

The Reality: Mobile messaging (both SMS and non-SMS channels) continued to be at the forefront of consumer communications from businesses (e.g. B2C and C2B).  Companies like WeChat have found wide acceptance in their core markets from everything from personal (P2P) communications to providing payments for goods and services.  The ubiquity and availability of the SMS channel to everyone, regardless of region and economic status, continues to support SMS as a key channel for reaching consumers, but in 2015, other messaging channels continued to reach into this pie as well100% correct.


[3] Contactless payments will grow substantially in 2015, with dozens of retail chains launching NFC Point-of-Sale support to benefit users of Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Softcard and other similar payment initiation solutions – not only in the United States, but in many markets around the world. In top markets, usage among enabled smartphone users will top 15% by year-end.  The alternative, CurrentC will launch; however, several retail chains will drop out of the Merchants Consumer Exchange (MCX) in favor of NFC supported solutions. Square will deliver Apple Pay compatible solutions in 2015.

The Reality:  Lots of changes occurred with contactless payments, last year. Apple Pay rolled out in the UK, Canada, and Australia and is accepted at more than 2 million outlets. Google Wallet was generally replaced by the mid-year launch Android Pay and acquired and absorbed Softcard. As of year end, it is competing well with Apple Pay.  In November 2015, Square announced an Apple Pay reader for its low-cost wireless payment products. In February of this year, it goes on sale at Apple Stores. CurrentC once again delayed and both Best Buy and Rite Aid announced that they would support Apple Pay, reversing previous decisions.   Finally, worldwide, contactless payment usage is 26% with Australia leading the way.  100% correct.


[4] More messaging consolidation in store for 2015. One or more of the independent non-SMS messaging providers will be acquired by a non-messaging company. The benefits of social messaging will be too much to ignore for the rest of this decade. Starting in 2015, more contextually-specific online solutions will include various styles of P2P messaging – all with specific benefits for mobile users.

The Reality: Unlike 2014, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, there were no major non-SMS messaging providers that were acquired in 2015, so predictions-wise, that was a miss. But, we did see a number of mobile centric app providers such as WeChat engage with contextually-specific online providers so that online chats can proceed. For example SAP C4C clients can engage their customers through chat channels such as WeChat and more (thanks to a Nexmo integration). Missed the mainline prediction, but got secondary, so 40% correct.


[5] As privacy and security concerns are belayed, more marketing and analytic solutions will be able to use anonymized mobile meta-data to provide unprecedented views on consumer engagement and behavior through mobile device usages. This will lead to more targeted and less intrusive consumer engagement through mobile by using new and innovation solutions such as beacons, messaging, and location-enhanced apps. All of this data (truly “big data”) will help retailers, marketers, and even MNOs have much better, more reliable visibility into what consumers are doing.

The Reality: For marketers and retailers, the data and solutions are available, but in reality, the art of passive information gathering as well as usage of anonymized mobile data is just beginning. For some, there is still a push and pull between the detail of the data and privacy concerns, but these are being mitigated to a point. Beacons, which have been available since 2014 are still being experimented with, but that is finally changing. Solutions are available, but slower than expected uptake, so we’ll call this 50% correct.


[6] Mobile device OS rankings will not change appreciably in 2015.  Android, iOS, and Windows will remain in the top 3; however, Tizen and Firefox will eclipse Blackberry.  As the iPhone 6/6+ continues to grow, global iOS market share will grow up to 5 percentage points and drop slightly by year-end.

The Reality: There are number of ways to determine global market share. Globally, the OS rankings did not change.  Based on mobile shipments, IDC reports that at the end of Q2 2015, worldwide: Android had 82.8%, iOS: 13.9%, Windows Phone: 2.6%, Blackberry: 0.3% and all other 0.4%.  US market shares showed that Windows continued to lead Blackberry. Overall, iOS shares fell worldwide, but growing in share in some specific markets. Not quite 100% right, so call this 80% correct.


[7] The current wearable glut will begin to filter out the winners from losers.  Apple Watch will do very well – popular variations will sell out and the Apple Watch will become a new platform for a variety to innovative solutions. Headlines will be made.  Other, less functional or very function-specific wearables will quietly disappear. One or two Apple Watch primary rivals will emerge. These “watches” and wristbands won’t just be for fitness anymore.

The Reality: According to IDC, the worldwide wearables market grew 126.9% in Q4 2015 alone, with a 171.6% increase for all of 2015.  There are several rival analysts noting different numbers and Apple has not given up the true numbers.  In a Verge article, it notes that Fitbit lead 2015 shipments with 21 million, followed by Xiaomi at 12 million and Apple at 11.6 million. From all of this data, certainly both Fitbit and Apple have emerged as leaders. I wouldn’t say that “headlines were made,” but there are some very innovative Apple Watch apps now in the market. I’m calling this 100% correct.


[8] LTE network deployments will top 450 operators by year end, with over 250 networks available for LTE Roaming.  By year end, there will be more than 80 networks, worldwide that will have deployed LTE Advanced.  Many European operators will abandon premium pricing for LTE networks – instead bundling all 3G/LTE into one data rate plan.

The Reality: The GSA notes that 480 LTE networks are commercially launched in 157 countries. Furthermore they indicate that there are 116 commercially launched LTE-Advanced systems in 57 countries.  A quick look at a snapshot of leading European MNOs such as Vodafone, Telefonica (Movistar), SFR and a few others do show that mobile data plans do not differentiate any more. “4G or LTE” is cited as a feature for most.  100% correct.


[9]Blackberry will show some growth in 2015.  If they are not acquired (notwithstanding the Samsung / Blackberry rumors as I write this).  Apple will introduce their annual upgrades to the iPhone 6 devices (the 6s / 6s Plus?), which will help people move from iPhone 4/5 to 6/6+. Samsung and other Android stalwarts won’t be left behind.  Even Sony may come back strong.

The Reality: Blackberry ultimately was not acquired although they’ve had a rough 2015 in terms of revenue; however, in their quarter ending Nov 28, 2015, revenue was up 14% Quarter over Quarter to $557 million, but still down for the year.  Still Blackberry is refocusing the company and may ultimately do okay.  The new PRIV device may help further turn things around. Apple did launch the 6s and 6s Plus along with iPad Pro. But while Sony had a mandate to turn things around in 2015, it was not to be. A couple of misses, prediction-wise: Blackberry and Sony... so let’s call this 50% correct.



[10] Mobile networks will play an increasingly important role in the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions – from specific network access support to SIM-enabled devices.  Apple HomeKit will shake up the fragmented connected home/home automation marketplace; however, other solutions will help bring some interoperability into the picture enabling HomeKit to support various home automation standards such as Z-Wave, Insteon, and others.

The Reality: Absolutely IoT made plenty of inroads in 2015 and virtually all mobile operators are supporting IoT devices. For example, US MNO AT&T brags that they are the top North American IoT provider with 26M+ devices connected. Similarly Vodafone offers a number of M2M (or IoT) solutions for Enterprises. Clearly, mobile networks are playing a major role in the roll-out of IoT solutions, worldwide. Apple HomeKit was made available in mid-2015 as a framework for home automation.  Device manufacturers are making home automation accessories HomeKit certified (or compatible) at increasing rates.  100% Correct

Ciphering all of this, it looks like I was 82% correct for 2015 predictions. One of my better years (prediction wise)

Now that it’s 2016, the dynamics and changeability of this industry are certainly not diminishing. The theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress: Mobile is Everything certainly rings true. Mobile is in everything and virtually everywhere, but there is significant room for improvement as we in the industry work to tweak the kinks and untie the knots.  2016 has already seen its first major controversy in Apple vs. the FBI. This will have long standing consequences for privacy, security, and ethics beyond whether or not a single iPhone can be accessed.  In fact, privacy and security will be big topics for the rest of this year. But that isn’t all.  5G was a significant topic at MWC 2016 and we will see major MNOs begin trials this year.  Will this start to benefit end users in 2016?  Oh, and how can we not forget that this is a U.S. Presidential election year!  Mobile will most definitely play a role.


In no particular order, here are my general mobile industry predictions for 2016:


  1. Messaging (I’m dropping the “mobile” part), which includes SMS, non-SMS messaging apps will remain THE primary channel for consumers and enterprises to connect and converse, despite all of the fragmentation. Worldwide, P2P SMS will drop in volumes, but in some markets, it will stabilize. A2P SMS continues to grow as a channel to reach consumers for a wide variety of uses, including increasing usage as a side-channel for two-factor authentication.
  2. This will be the year of Two-Factor Authentication (or 2FA). In the past couple of months, there have been significant pushes from media (Gizmodo article on banking) and the government (even President Obama, in a Wall Street Journal editorial) for consumers to use 2FA and for businesses to offer it.  Overall, the majority of the companies currently listed at twofactorauth.org that do not support 2FA at this time, will support it by the end of 2016.
  3. Wearables (smartwatches, fitness bands, etc.) will double the shipments from 2015. Apple will release the Apple Watch 2 which will have significantly more functionality than their inaugural product.  Smartwatches in general will become smarter in 2016 with some rivaling the new (2016) Apple Watch in functionality.  Fitbit will continue its dominance although the new Apple Watch (based on the new version expected in 2016) will gain.
  4. LTE commercial deployments will top 600 mobile operators with 300 available for LTE Roaming (GSA thinks 550, I think more). Additionally, we’ll see over 200 LTE-Advanced commercial deployments. Already we have crossed 1 billion LTE subscriptions.  By year end, that should grow to 1.5 billion subscriptions. There will also be some limited 5G commercial service in the U.S. by year end (mainly for IoT and 5G modems).
  5. For Mobile Devices, Android will continue its fragmented world dominance with Apple coming in second and, once again, defying logic and growing again with the new iPhone 7 model(s). Apple will gain in market share.  Blackberry will hang in there as will Windows Phone, but as niche players. No other mobile Operating Systems will play a major role in the marketplace.
  6. In terms of security of mobile devices, the latest drama between Apple and the U.S. FBI will be a catalyst for a number of new security and privacy initiatives in 2016. The U.S. Congress will not get into the act, given it is an election year, so this will all be settled in the courts.  The FCC’s new privacy regulations will touch off another firestorm of controversy as did their Network Neutrality regulations.  The courts will be busy for several years sorting all of this out.
  7. As a repeat from last year, we will see more marketing and analytic solutions able to use anonymized mobile meta-data to provide unprecedented views on consumer engagement and behavior through mobile device usages. This big data will help retailers, brands and marketers target connections to consumers on a more subtle, yet more responsive manner.
  8. Mobile Point-of-Sale / contactless payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Android Pay and the resulting “mobile wallet” loyalty capabilities will become much more mainstream in 2016.  Contactless payments will finally grow to where more US national retailers than not will be supporting NFC payment terminals. CurrentC will launch to consumers (finally), but end up failing as additional retailers pull out of their consortium.
  9. Once again, mobile messaging – both P2P and A2P will play roles in the 2016 presidential campaigns, especially after the conventions toward the general election. The final candidates will have mobile apps, mobile websites, and opt-in messaging options. They will also utilize some of the newer non-SMS messaging channels.
  10. It’s also an Olympic summer with summer Olympics in Rio from August 5th – August 21st. As in past years, SMS as well as messaging channels will see traffic bursts from fans around the world reacting to various events during this Olympiad.  200px-2016_Summer_Olympics_logo.svg.pngVisitors from around the world will be well provided for via mobile as the Brazilian operators’ preparation will pay off with virtually no downtime or disruptions to both local and roaming mobile services; however, “free” WiFi services around the venues in Brazil will be overloaded, leading to service disruptions.



So there you have it – my somewhat offbeat and eclectic predictions about the mobile industry for 2016. Late, but not too late.  I look forward to your comments and thoughts.


Please follow me on Twitter: @wdudley2009

In spite of so much changing in the mobility industry in the last 4 years SAP has maintained its leadership position in the MQ for all these years, competing with around 20 vendors!


If you don’t already know, an MADP enables an enterprise to design, develop, test, deploy, distribute, analyze and manage a portfolio of cross-platform mobile apps on a range of devices running Android and iOS, and addressing the requirements of diverse use cases including external-facing and internal-facing scenarios.


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