SAP-IBM's Alloy application being pushed to BlackBerry

BlackBerry users will be able to access SAP data on the road from Notes

BlackBerry users will one day be able to use Alloy, the application jointly developed by SAP and IBM that allows users to access information from SAP's Business Suite applications through IBM's Lotus Notes collaboration software.

IBM is showcasing a technology preview of Alloy running natively on the BlackBerry at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium conference in Orlando on Tuesday.

Alloy was announced in January after being developed under the code name "Atlantic." It is meant to spur adoption of SAP software because users can remain in the familiar Lotus environment. Users can perform functions like reading reports, approving vacation requests and approving steps in a hiring process.

SAP has a similar partnership with Microsoft around the Microsoft, SAP Duet partnership application, which allows users to tap SAP through Office.

IBM is not ready to name a general availability date for Alloy support on BlackBerry, according to a spokeswoman.

Alloy will eventually be supported on other mobile platforms as well, such as Windows Mobile, said Bob Picciano, general manager of Lotus. It made sense to work on BlackBerry support first due to its popularity in enterprise settings as well as "very good stuff" like the newly released BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, which enables the Alloy integration.

Picciano could not provide precise sales figures for Alloy, which became generally available in March. But "more than 200 major enterprises are in dialogues with [IBM]" about it, and the company is "right on target" with its initial sales goals, he said.

Mobility is key to the success of applications like Alloy, and really an intrinsic part of today's business world, he added.

"Managers are having to make decisions at all times in all places, not just their office."

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Chris Kanaracus

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