Mobile App Industry Research

Thursday, April 12, 2012

SAP Acquires Syclo – A Second Cup of Coffee and 25 Comments

This is the second article in this series on SAP's announced intent to acquire Syclo.  You can read Part 1 here.

I am now on my second cup of coffee, a different day, but still pondering SAP's announced acquisition of Syclo.  On the Linkedin group,  SAP Enterprise Mobility (you should all join!), I conducted a poll.  The question was, “Do you think SAP's announced intention to acquire mobility vendor Syclo is a good move?"  Here are the poll results and comments as of this afternoon (105 respondents):

72% - YES
17% - NO
10%   - I don’t know

It seems the overwhelming opinion is that it will be a good thing, however, many of the comments seemed to reflect more frustration from the SAP ecosystem than the poll numbers reflected.  IT departments and systems integrators are obviously having a challenge keeping up with this rapidly evolving field and SAP's moves.

Comments:
  1. I think this will add more confusion for customers and partners who I am sure are scratching their head and trying to figure out which way to go now.
  2. I think SAP will benefit from this acquisition, especially in the utilities sector.
  3. Syclo already supports SUP, so it makes sense to add it to SAPs mobile portfolio.
  4. The only logical conclusion I can draw is that they [SAP] probably wanted to keep Oracle away.
  5. SAP has been selling SUP licenses by millions so it would be interesting to see how those customers will react now.
  6. Syclo has a suite of well-respected vertical mobile applications, which already run on the SUP platform. 

By blending the two I see a flexible, broad-brush, technical platform with industry focused market messaging and improved ability to execute/deliver. 
I therefore see this as a good thing for SAP and for customers who wish to get into mobility.
  7. This will upset partner companies like ClickSoftware who are heavily investing in SAP and the SUP platform.
  8. I think [success] will depend on how well SAP is able to integrate Syclo Agentry platform and Syclo SMART suite with SUP, as they all have very distinct and desirable features.
  9. In my eyes SAP has not done a good job at offering a simple mobility roadmap.  It is confusing.
  10. I definitely think that the acquisition of Syclo will be beneficial for both Syclo and SAP.
  11. SAP customers favor standards and stability!!! 
With SUP the mobility platform already became very complex with too many possibilities and no clear direction. 
Partners are already hesitating to invest, as they don’t know how the whole thing is evolving.
  12. What’s the message to customers who just bought some SUP licenses and just started an EAM project?! What do they say to partners which invested in SUP Apps?! What do all the account executives at SAP tell their customers after preaching that Sybase is the answer to all mobility questions for a year now?
  13. SAP is just losing its credibility with customers and partners.
  14. This move is throwing the whole mobility efforts back by at least 12 months.
  15. 

It’s unclear at the moment how the Agentry platform fits, but I can see SAP merging functionality into the SUP MBO/Integration components to further improve the integration capability of the platform.
  16. SAP has already more choices to mobilize their workforce than they can explain to clients. Why invest in one more absolutely different solution with a new server, a new landscape, new licensing and even worse, no real 4GL?
  17. Clients already dealing with Sybase, now need to communicate with SAP, but these guys have no idea on how to get more licenses. Ask 10 sales people and get 20 different answers....
  18. Before investing into a new product, SAP should do their homework and solve the main 
issues they have - the lack of a clear and fair license strategy to their clients that is communicated through all channels.
  19. I have seen Syclo and ClickSoftware’s scheduler integrated and deployed at a utilities.  It was an EAM implementation. It was not initially a happy marriage but nevertheless provided a good ability to extend SAP to Ruggedized devices with good capability to integrate with GIS thrown in.
  20. My guess is that SAP bought Syclo for the following reasons; Syclo customers, Syclo employees and their expertise within field services and asset management.
  21. What is the road map for Syclo's Agentry framework?
  22. This will result in confusion on the part of many customers who were looking at the SAP EAM Mobile solution.
  23. Once the dust settles, I think this will turn out to be a long-term winner.
  24. SAP customers and partners now face a daunting task of updating their own SAP mobility strategy - for the 9th time?
  25. From the point of view of a customer still trying to work out its mobile strategy this constant change is simply making me wait. I'm not about to make a major investment in skills and technology for a mobile platform that might become obsolete with SAP's next purchase. SAP need to let things stabilize now. Please...

Change is always difficult, and rapid change is even more difficult.  I worked with the folks at SAPinsider on an analyst paper a couple of months back and we found that developing a mobile strategy was one of the biggest challenges.  This intended acquisition is likely to make developing a mobile strategy even more of a challenge in the short term.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Next week, on Thursday, April 19th, I will be participating with Syclo on a webinar organized by ASUG. I will be talking about the role of mobile enterprise application platforms now and in the future.   I hope you can join us, register here.

Read Part 1 of this series here.
Read Part 3 of this series here.


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Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus
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.

1 comment:

  1. As always, you give us lots to ponder, Kevin! For anyone interested in downloading the complete Mobile Outlook 2012 report you mentioned, here's a link: http://sapinsider.wispubs.com/Article/Mobile-Outlook-2012/6385. It's free to download, and brimming with interesting figures and stats about how SAP customers are approaching their mobile strategies.

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