Amid the PayPal and Google news over the last day, you might have missed out on some interesting mobile developments.
BlackBerry App Store: Finance & Banking Offerings
The new BlackBerry application store (with payments by PayPal) is just being rolled out. The Finance & Banking section features Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Fidelity, eTrade and Citibank via Obopay (no Citi branding). The Wells Fargo and BofA offerings are shortcuts/icons to mobile banking sites via the BlackBerry browser. eTrade, Fidelity, and Obopay have developed applications that run on the BlackBerry.
At NetBanker, Jim Bruene has a thorough write up. He urges bankers to move quickly:
The list of participating financial institutions won’t stay short for long. You must support iPhone and Blackberry users, the sooner you do so, the more free publicity you can garner.
SAP & Smart Phones
There’s been a swoon over SAP’s partnership with Sybase to deliver SAP Business Suite via iPhone, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and other smart phones. SAP will develop the business applications and Sybase will develop the mobile infrastructure. Hopefully SAP will refine its woeful travel and expense solution for business people on the road and enable workflow approvals of key business processes (purchase orders, sales order discounts, etc.) from outside the office. Mobile access to SAP will be liberating for workers everywhere (or at least those whose companies are running SAP Business Suite), but it will take some time. Delivery isn’t anticipated until late 2009, early 2010.
As some bloggers have noted, this announcement validates the iPhone as a business tool, as opposed to hipster accessory. But as ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett points out, SAP is going to have to evaluate its pricing in order to achieve wide acceptance:
Then there’s the question of pricing. Executives would not be drawn other than to say ‘reasonable.’ If we’re talking about iPhone apps then they’d better be free or close to it. Oracle has had Oracle Business Approvals for Managers on the Appstore, since October of last year. SAP’s version looks remarkably similar. The Oracle app is free though it requires the licensing of the Business Approvals Connector server app at a pre-discount price of $8,750 for the minimum of 25 users.
I’m guessing that neither SAP nor Sybase will want to contemplate those numbers and then of course there is all that juicy process integration work. Even so, if SAP wants to take a serious tilt at its extended enterprise universe which it claims to be 140 million users, then $350 a pop (Oracle’s effective per user pricing) plus 22% maintenance charge is way off the mark. Slash that figure to $50 and $50 maintenance and you’d get my attention.
In the meantime, for those financial executives out there that bank with Wells Fargo, check out on-the-go wire approvals, positive pay review and other time sensitive tasks available via Wells Fargo’s mobile CEO applications.