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SAP chief info officer: Apps in works for RIM tablet

Chief Information Officer Oliver Bussmann says SAP will have mobile versions of its business software ready to go by the time RIM releases the PlayBook.

Business software maker SAP says it is working to adapt its market-leading enterprise resource management software to Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet and that mobile versions of its software will be ready to go by the gadget's launch date of early next year.

SAP Chief Information Officer Oliver Bussman told The Wall Street Journal that all of the company's ERP applications are being readied for the tablet.

"SAP is definitely supporting the RIM PlayBook," Bussman said.

That's good for RIM, which is hoping that loyalty on the part of its BlackBerry business customers will carry over to the PlayBook. The company wants to avoid obsolescence at the hands of Apple's hugely popular iPad tablet, as well as iPad competitors such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab, which runs Google's Android operating system.

Though the Apple device hasn't been touted as a tool for businesses, that's started to change as corporate IT departments have begun embracing the iPad--in part because of its popularity with employees. Last month, AT&T pitched businesses a discounted wireless data plan for the iPad.

SAP itself has welcomed the Apple device. Bussman told the Journal that the company is currently supporting nearly 2,000 of the gadgets--for use by its software developers, executives, and sales force--and is adding another 300 to 500 iPads to the fold every month. He said SAP is also considering the use of Android-based tablets, and that it will start using the PlayBook in about a month.

"The penetration of the RIM PlayBook will depend upon the apps," Bussmann told the Journal. "Apple has more enterprise apps ready. That is an advantage."