Friday, May 14, 2010

SAP to Acquire Sybase, Day 3 - Kevin Benedict's Thoughts and Analysis

There have been several additional comments made in the past 24 hours that seem to shed light on the thinking behind SAP's intent to acquire Sybase.  These statements seem to be highlighting three specific themes:
  1. A shift from desktop to mobile devices
  2. A goal to connect with billions of mobile users
  3. Support for all leading mobile devices
In a comment yesterday on the Linkedin group SAP Enterprise Mobility (you should all join), Sam Lakkundi, Sybase's Chief Architect said, "Moving from the Desktop Computer to a Mobile Device is the new path for enterprise computing that I vision."  In an email exchange between myself and Bonnie Rothenstein, Head of SAP's Enterprise Mobility Communications, Bonnie said, “We’re excited about our intent to acquire Sybase, as we believe the acquisition will enable SAP to accelerate our plans to deliver SAP’s industry leading business applications and analytics offerings to billions of mobile users on any device.” 

Add these highlighted statements to SAP's co-CEO Bill McDermott's, "We see a huge emerging market for the real-time, unwired enterprise," and SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe's, "We want to make sure that SAP solutions can be accessed from all leading mobile devices."

I see the fog beginning to rise.  The Sybase acquisition can ensure that a standardized way of integrating mobile devices and mobile enterprise applications with SAP systems is defined and available through Sybase's mobile middleware and integration tools.  I spoke to an unnamed source in SAP who confirmed this statement with two taps on the table.  This same source said there will always be choices in how to integrate, but there will be a defined SAP way for mobile software providers to integrate.  SAP must have read my blogs.

I read and interpret that SAP believes mobility, mobile device support, and integration with mobile applications is too important to leave totally up to the discretion of partners.  SAP wants to bring order to the chaos and define a path, methodology, and strategy for their partners.

On the question of where SAP's current mobility partners fit into this new world order, SAP's Rothenstein provided this statement, "SAP’s intent to acquire Sybase will expand opportunities for our joint ecosystems and we believe our software and implementation partners can capture new opportunities by innovating on Sybase’s open and market leading mobile platform."

The SAP statement above seems clear.  Mobile software companies that develop "rich or thick mobile clients" in the SAP ecosystem will want to seriously consider embedding Sybase's mobile middleware, synchronization, integration, and device management technology in their future mobile software upgrades to better align with SAP's future direction.

I have had a chance to talk to a number of SAP's mobility partners in the last few hours who, after they digested the announcement, seem to have embraced it.  To summarize (as I will blog more on this soon), they see incorporating relevant pieces of Sybase mobile middleware into their solutions, but continuing to see themselves as the subject matter experts on complex, tactical, and industry specific mobile applications.

One last thought for today (as my irrigation system needs to be activated before I leave for Sapphire) is that SAP seems to really be emphasizing the "support for all mobile devices" theme.  This is very different than last year when there was a specific emphasis on RIM products.

Kevin Benedict SAP Mentor, SAP Top Contributor,CEO Netcentric Strategies LLC
Mobile Industry Analyst, Author of the report Enterprise Mobile Data Solutions, 2009
Mobile Strategy Consultant and Web 2.0 Marketing Services
***Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility consultant and Web 2.0 marketing expert. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.