Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I Learned About Mobility at SAPPHIRENOW 2011, Part 2

In an article that I wrote pre-SAPPHIRENOW 2011, I shared what I hoped to learn at the conference.  In this article I share what I did learn.  I have included the original list and added what I have since learned.

1.  I hope that SAP and Sybase will unveil ambitious, innovative and powerful mobile solutions at Sapphire 2011.  What I learned - SAP announced 19 mobile applications, three to be released in June.  I understood the three to be EAM (enterprise asset management), CRM Field Services and Retail Execution.  The 16 or so later this year will utilize the HTML5 container to be released in SUP 2.1 in September.

2.  I want to know how SAP is going to address mobility in the cloud.  What I learned - Sybase's 360 business manages over 1.5 billion text messages per day.  I also know there is a lot of work with the MNOs (mobile network operators) to run Afaria in the cloud.  I think there is more for me to learn here.  I think SAP is doing more than I learned about.

3.  I want to learn how SAP is going to integrate M2M (machine to machine) wireless communications.  What I learned - SAP's CO-CEO Jim Snabe mentioned "sensors" seven times in 24 hours when I was in the room with him.  He spoke about "sense and respond" and directly about M2M (machine to machine) kinds of sensors and their role.  In a later keynote session with a group of futurists, they communicated that embedded sensors, M2M and wireless chips will be one of the next big revolutions.

4.  I want to see if SAP/Sybase have figured out how to simplify their enterprise mobility message and guidance for companies. What I learned - See my mobility photos from Day 1.  SAP created a mobility campus with about 10 booths showing specific mobility topics.  This was a good move SAP, but where was the booth on how to develop a mobility strategy?  I worked with the SAP PCN (premier customer network) round tables to help them think through strategies, but what about all the other companies?  I believe the right technology exists today, but there is still so much confusion that companies are hesitant to buy.  There is need for more work to be done helping companies determine and develop their mobility strategies.

5.  I want to learn about the Mobile SDK.  What I learned - I sat through multiple demos of the Mobile SDK.  It is making progress helping companies better integrate with backend systems and services, but lacks most required UX and UI tools.  I understand that SUP 2.1 (scheduled for September 2011 release) with its focus on HTML5, will have many more web style development tools for designing interfaces.  In 2006, my team had more sophisticated Sybase focused UI and UX tools than I see today in the Mobile SDK from Sybase.  I like the direction of the Mobile SDK and look forward to seeing what comes out in September with SUP 2.1.

6.  I want to learn about the convergence of NetWeaver Mobile, DOE, SUP and Project Gateway.  What I learned - Project Gateway, NetWeaver Mobile and DOE are all SAP products, SUP is a Sybase product.  NetWeaver Mobile and DOE are being absorbed into SUP, but Project Gateway was developed and is managed by SAP.  I am still not sure how Project Gateway fits with SUP.  I understand that lightweight mobile applications can use either Gateway or SUP.  Lightweight apps will have much more support in SUP with version 2.1 of SUP to come in September.

7.  I want to learn about in-memory computing and how it relates to enterprise mobility.  What I learned - Nearly every keynote address highlighted the value of in-memory computing to mobility.  Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will become the front end to the "real-time enterprise."  In-memory computing and business intelligence will provide nearly instant access to large quantities of intelligence and business analytics for the mobile workforce.

8.  I want to learn about the new mobile applications from SAP.  What I learned - Listen to my interview with SAP's Nick Brown for more details.  SAP announced 19 new mobile apps.  John Chen, CEO of Sybase said, "We expect to build only 10 percent of mobility apps, the ecosystem the rest." SAP will release three mobile applications in the June 2011 time frame, the rest in the September time frame.  SAP announced mobility partnership with Accenture to build more mobile applications.

9.  I want to learn about SAP's strategic mobile product road map.  What I learned - See points 5 and 8 above.

10.  I want to learn about changes to the SAP/Sybase org chart for enterprise mobility.  What I learned - I heard of SAP and Sybase people that have moved on, but the major players from TechEd 2010 seem to remain in place.

11.  I want to learn what role HTML5 plays in SAP/Sybase's enterprise mobility strategy.  What I learned - SUP 2.1 will have an HTML5 container that will help web developers become mobile developers.  My understanding is that 16 of the 19 announced mobile applications will utilize the HTML5 container technology.  It appears HTML5 will play a significant and growing role in the SAP/Sybase strategy and road map.

12.  I want to hear how SAP and Sybase will be restructuring their organizations to deliver world-class mobile solutions.  What I learned - Much learning and chaos has taken place over the last year, but the SAP ship seems to be going the right direction today.  Many of my fellow SAP Mentors seemed to be satisfied with today's direction.  I like what I see.  There is still much work to be done to determine who does what between SAP and Sybase sales and marketing, but I have faith that it will be worked.

What are your thoughts?  Can you help me fill in some of the blanks?

You can read Part 1 of this article here.

Whitepapers of Note

Webinars of Note

Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile and M2M Industry Analyst, SAP Mentor Volunteer
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.