SVP Beard: Sybase Spreads Its Reach

Recently reported Q3 earnings show that customers are snapping up the database and mobile management products Sybase seeded in previous quarters, but there's still plenty of work to be done when it comes to getting out from under the shadow of the databas

Sybase Inc. is pleased as punch with its recent earnings report, results of which were announced on Wednesday. The Dublin, Calif., companys total revenue increased to $198.7 million for the third quarter, up from $193.8 million for year-ago figures. CEO John Chen credited growth in data management and mobility solutions, plus—no surprise here—kick-butt sales in China and other geographies.

Thats all well and good, but outside of China, Sybase still has an uphill battle to get noticed next to the database overlords: Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and IBM. Marty Beard, senior vice president of development and marketing, hooked up with Associate Editor Lisa Vaas after the earnings call to talk about how Sybase is enticing new customers with mobility and data management, not to mention free Linux versions of its enterprise database, ASE (Adaptive Server Enterprise).

Sybase had a good quarter. What stands out in the results?

The big news for us is there are two parts of our business: data management and mobile management. Weve been working very hard to bring that entire story and suite of solutions to our customers. This quarter we saw both pillars of our strategy take off.

Earlier in the year, we saw strong growth in mobility, but, like our competitors, we were struggling on the data management side.

What accounts for the turnaround on the data management side?

We worked to build some new solutions [that] we announced over the last couple quarters: the real-time database [ASE 12.5.2], the Mirror Activator and the dynamic archiving solution. We worked hard to build those solutions and to get them out to market, and this quarter was the first quarter we saw our installed base purchase them.

What does the uptake of those technologies say about your customer bases needs—particularly financial services, in which Sybase has traditionally been very strong?

One, weve heard forever people talk about the real-time enterprise. I think people talk about it because they need to get data quicker.

The real-time database server … allows financial services companies to move from a passive database to something thats more proactive, that alerts you, the end user, when something changed or you need to be aware of something. Thats very important in the real-time enterprise.

What about the effects of regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley?

We saw many installed-base customers purchase that technology. But we also see companies dealing with volumes and volumes of data thats growing exponentially, [from regulations such as] Sarbanes-Oxley. [Such regulations give rise to] archiving and data management problems that weve been able to address with a couple solutions.

/zimages/6/28571.gifIs the practical effect of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance making companies less efficient, rather than more? For one real-estate investment trust company the unfortunate answer is, yes. Read more here.

Lets talk about the Unwired Enterprise initiative. Where has the technology acquired in the XcelleNet Inc. acquisition wound up?

XcelleNet has been fully integrated into our mobile division. We had a good quarter with them, actually. They brought a very important category to our unwired story: mobile and remote device management. Its helping an enterprise manage what datas going out, who can see what data, authenticating users, and providing end-to-end security around device and data management.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read about Sybases acquisition of mobile management vendor XcelleNet.

Its also bringing us to new customers. McDonalds purchased XcelleNet, [The Walt Disney Co.,] Pepperidge Farm [Inc.]. Those are new verticals: major companies we havent traditionally done a lot of business with. And we can follow on those sales with other parts of our unwired stacks, and bring in new, fresh customers.

Next page: Familiarizing enterprises with Sybase technology.