SAP is leveraging its Sybase subsidiary for increased mobile offerings that will allow it to compete more heartily against Oracle and others in the enterprise space.
SAP is seeking to leverage its mobile
assets as a way forward amidst strong competition from Oracle, Microsoft and
other enterprise software competitors.
That was the news out of the Sapphire
Now conference in Orlando, Fla., this week. Amazon Web Services and SAP have
partnered to deliver the latter's enterprise solutions on demand via the
cloud-including SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions and SAP BusinessObjects. The
hope is that customers will gravitate toward a pay-per-use model, especially if
it allows them to scale up and down quickly according to particular business
SAP is also partnering with Accenture
to push mobile offerings via the Sybase Unwired Platform and Accenture Mobility
Services assets. That partnership will initially focus on the oil and gas,
utilities, and consumer-products areas.
SAP is also building off its Sybase
subsidiary with the release of Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0 and a new SDK
(software development kit) for creating mobile business applications. In
theory, that combination will allow a company to control every step of the
mobile-app lifecycle, from building and deploying to updating and management. A
Hybrid Web Container toolset will let developers build a native app without
having to code for specific devices.
Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0 is
available now, with the enhanced SDK set for rollout sometime in the next few
months. With regard to application building, SAP currently supports Windows
Mobile, Research In Motion's BlackBerry 5 and 6, iOS 4.3, and, by the end of the
second quarter, Google Android.
In addition, SAP is unveiling a
collection of mobile apps, built on the Sybase Unwired Platform, for industries
ranging from manufacturing and consumer products to utilities, tech, oil and
gas, retail and health care.
"We are reaching an inflection point in
the industry, where developing and deploying mobile apps tops the priority list
this year for a majority of enterprises," Stephen Drake, a program vice
president for research firm IDC, wrote in a May 17 statement circulated by SAP.
"The influx of powerful smartphones, tablets and innovative applications is
driving widespread consumption of mobile technology, making return on
investment in mobile IT much more transparent for companies."
SAP also needs to justify the $5.8 billion
it paid for Sybase in 2010. At the time, the company promised that synergies
between the two companies would result in quick and tangible benefits, not the
least of them a mobile business applications platform capable of running on
many different mobile device and operating systems. Before its acquisition,
Sybase was primarily known as the 26-year-old producer of relational database
software and mobile database management products.
Once SAP incorporated Sybase, it
focused on joint product development in three areas: enterprise mobility,
business analytics and enterprise information management. At an August 2010
event in Boston, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott suggested to industry analysts and
media that Sybase's assets would help SAP become "the only company in the world
to deliver the full suite of enterprise software and next-generation business
intelligence on any device at any time."
However, SAP also finds itself locked
in brutal battle with some large and hungry competitors for a piece of the
enterprise pie, a war made no easier by the company's vicious lawsuit with archrival
Oracle. Given the trend by businesses and consumers toward mobile solutions and
the cloud, SAP's aggressive plays in that area could help it maintain and grow
its presence in that area-even as its competitors attempt to match or surpass
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.