SAP announced a partnership on March 11 with Sybase, a provider of enterprise and mobile software, which will enable the SAP Business Suite 7 to fully run on the Apple iPhone, Microsoft Windows Mobile, BlackBerry smartphones and other mobile devices.
This new mobility is being initiated by SAP under the slogan, "Office on the Go."
The synergy will take advantage of Sybase's mobile enterprise application platform, through which enterprise workers on the road will be able to engage with SAP's CRM solutions.
"The mobile work force wants to work from whatever device they feel comfortable with," Bill McDermott, president of Global Field Operations for SAP, said during a press conference. "We are in a new reality in this economy, and customers are looking to extend their core IT investments."
There is also a mega-trend that we see: the mobile enterprise worker is now the most important worker, because the mobile enterprise worker is now touching the customer" as well as vendors and other outside entities, McDermott added.
The partnership is not exclusive, according to McDermott, leaving both companies open to potentially explore other deals with software- and middleware-producing entities. Sybase and SAP both have existing partnerships with RIM.
SAP currently has 40 million licenses around the world. The company already offers CRM software for BlackBerry and iPhone.
SAP Business Suite 7 was announced on Feb. 4, and is slated for general adoption in summer 2009.
By utilizing Sybase technology, the range of mobile devices that can easily utilize SAP Business Suite 7 will increase even further. "This is more of an ecosystem-building," John Chen, chairman, CEO and president of Sybase, said during the conference.
"Most of the major building blocks are in place," Chen continued.
The product will roll out some of its functionality in the second half of this year, with native integration coming together on multiple devices in 2010. It will be "very affordable," according to Chen, who declined to name a specific price.
In a demonstration, Willie Jow, vice president of Mobility Products for Sybase, showed how the system would work for the end user.
Say a business traveler is in the airport in Frankfurt, and about to depart for an eight-hour flight to New York. A discount approval request comes through on their iPhone.
"You should be able to complete that business process on that device without bringing out your laptop," said Jow, who used an iPhone to open the e-mail with the request, and then pressed an oversized approval button to sign off on it.