Feb 15, 2012

SAP's Enterprise-to-Consumer App

SAP today launched its first consumer mobile app called ‘Recalls Plus’ (Ray Wang’s review here) It is a simple iPhone app (free on AppStore) to track consumer recalls and provide real-time alerts on selected categories and products.

I personally love the concept, as few apps better symbolize the essence of this blog title ‘Consumerizing Enterprise’! I knew the product was in the making for some time, but did not know any details. Here are some personal impressions as a consumer, after downloading and playing with the iPhone app for a while.

It’s a nifty app that does one thing well: track recalls and has an extremely simple user interface. Instead of signing up on various brand and government web sites and receiving a ton of emails on every recall, you can create a watch-list of products (including food, allergens) and set up a filter for alerts. It also gives you a few pre-defined categories, based on the kid’s age group and also lists all recent recall news. It is a clearly useful app for any family that is concerned about recalls (like we are).

The broader idea is to connect the enterprises (brands and retailers) to the end-consumers in the context of a key concern of most parents. The app could also be quite viral, giving parents a chance to easily share a recall alert on Facebook or Twitter to potentially interested friends. For enterprises, the app could ultimately be a channel to engage with the end consumers or at the minimum, learn a bit more about their preferences and usage.

I saw some questions on how SAP makes money. I don’t know if SAP is hoping to make tons of money with this app, especially from consumers directly. I suspect if it gets in the hands of many consumers and gives some more insights to its CPG customers, SAP might not be too disappointed. Moreover, almost every consumer app starts with a freemium approach. SAP already has a consumer employee application in the market (StreamWork) that has a freemium model, though I don’t know the future plans for the RecallsPlus product. If you would like to find out more, please contact Rishi Diwan, the product owner.

‘A journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step’ and this app is probably the first step of SAP into the consumer software world, where SAP has a stated ambitious goal to reach 1 Billion users by 2015.  I am sure SAP will need to learn a lot and reiterate quickly in this widely different world, as Rishi mentioned in the interview. But it’s a start and it’ll be exciting to see more cool apps from any software vendor connecting enterprises and consumers.

App available on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/recalls-plus/id499200328 
App web site: http://www.recallsplus.com/