Meet the iPad’s Unlikely Cheerleader: SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann


SAP's Bussman and his iPad at Appnation Enterprise.
SAP's Bussman and his iPad at Appnation Enterprise. @Cultofmac.

Oliver Bussmann, CIO of SAP, makes an unlikely cheerleader for Apple’s iPad — but one who is bound to get noticed. (If you’re now picturing him in a varsity sweater shaking pom-poms, sorry).

But Bussmann is unabashedly enthusiastic about Apple’s magical tablet computer.
SAP deployed some 14,000 iPads to employees last year, making the stodgy German business management software colossal the second largest corporate iPad user worldwide. (Korea Telecom handed over 30,000 to its workers).

“It’s an exciting time. The line between consumer and corporate is fading and we’ve been aggressive in regards to the iPad,” he said. “There’s a  huge opportunity to be in driver’s seat.”

Calling the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement “unstoppable,” Bussmann spoke of his company’s internal app store which has 40 apps and Afaria, the company’s mobile device management software from Sybase, with which they can deploy services to 3,000-4,000 devices in a month.

Fresh from CES in Vegas – where he also cheered about role of the iPad in SAP – he made the remarks at San Francisco’s Appnation Enterprise keynote.

Bussmann believes in employing multiple mobile devices – they will start rolling out Androids soon, though he says it lags about a year behind i0S – and is excited about the overall implications for big data, mobile medical uses (his iPad presentation featured brain CAT scans) and accelerating the world of HR, thanks to the iPeople Sovanta app.

While Bussmann does not foresee tablets replacing laptops for employees entirely in the near future – editing or creating complex documents like presentations or spreadsheets on the road is still too problematic – he is a firm proponent of mobile.

“Overall, a CIO has two choices: step aside…or embrace the mobile mindset, loosening policies about bring-your-own devices and bringing end users into the process.”

  • Frank Lowney

    Of course Apple is a big customer of SAP.  

  • imajoebob

    Unlikely cheerleader?  Excuse me, ma’am, your ignorance is showing.

    A company like SAP is an OBVIOUS cheerleader.  The corporate future for the iPad is the “portable desktop,” even more than anyone dreamed for the notebook.  Everything you need is with you anywhere you go, all the time, even (especially) on the move.  But to achieve this you need one BIG thing Apple doesn’t sell: a killer back-end app.  And that’s what SAP can provide: that ultimate, wall-to-wall, tie it all together software that chugs away on corporate servers while dishing up the info to your iPad screen.  All the processing sits on the server, controlled by the iPad,  To use the old paradigm, the iPad becomes a terminal server for the 21st Century.

    Why wouldn’t SAP be falling all over themselves to promote it?

  • Michel Vega

    Chris Farley is alive! :oD

  • Al

    “ignorance is showing”? That’s not very nice.

    I think she may have said that because SAP’s software has the rep of being so un-Apple-like. A few years ago I was forced to use it in my previous job and, well, it’s like a spreadsheet which has been smoking weed all night. Plus it is shoddy, ugly, and some elements of it were not even translated from the original German. It looked like a 90’s era Java GUI tutorial had vomited on the screen. I don’t know if this applies to the latest version, but that’s certainly how it was, and that’s the rep it has got over time. As my collagues used to say, “SAP is crap”.

    So yes, SAP is an unlikely cheerleader. One would have thought they were more comfortable tweaking Excel 98 under Windows XP than running iPads.

  • imajoebob

    So what if their front end is crap? All the more reason to tout the iPad. SAP excels at the back end, and can let the app developers make pretty user interfaces while they do the heavy lifting on the servers. It makes their job easier, and more valuable. THAT’s why they love it.