SAP, Sybase lay out tech road maps

Details of their plans for mobile applications, analytics and data management will be revealed

SAP and Sybase officials gathered in Boston on Thursday to reveal how they plan to bring together their respective technologies in the areas of mobility, analytics and enterprise information management.

SAP has consistently cited Sybase's mobile middleware as a key reason for the acquisition, which closed in July. Along with Sybase, which is to be run as an independent unit, within the next nine months SAP intends to build out a mobile platform that can run on-premises or in the cloud, connects to every application and is compatible with "all major" mobile operating systems and devices, according to a statement.

The goal is to give customers real-time visibility into their businesses, with information that is "fresh, not one day old, one week old ... on any device, anywhere you are," said SAP CTO Vishal Sikka in an interview prior to the event.

Sybase and SAP have a head start on the mobility front, having already co-developed a number of applications. That work will "dramatically accelerate" now that the acquisition is complete, and new mobile applications are coming soon, Sikka said.

SAP's strategy does not involve porting its enterprise applications to mobile devices, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said during the event. "It's about using the mobile device as a front end," surfacing business data from back-end systems, he said.

SAP's own Project Gateway, which makes it easy to "mobilize" its Business Suite ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite, will work alongside Sybase's mobile middleware, according to Sikka.

Partners will figure greatly into SAP's mobility strategy, and customers can expect many industry-specific apps as well.

SAP is intent on delivering new mobile products "in a fluid manner," and "no additional bureaucracy" has been added to the development process, Sikka said during the event.

However, the strategy will be led by a team of executives from both Sybase and SAP, the makeup of which will be announced shortly, according to SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott.

It was decided that Sybase would be run as a separate division in order to preserve "the same culture that has been successful," and thereby keep customers happy, said Sybase CEO John Chen.

There is also a strategic advantage to the arrangement, Snabe said.

"Sybase goes into a market that is very different from SAP today, so with this model we have the broadest opportunity possible," he said. In addition, Sybase has a strong foothold in growing markets like China, which could help SAP ramp up sales of its Business ByDesign on-demand ERP suite, he said.

One big question is how much SAP and Sybase's mobile applications will cost customers, and how they will be licensed. "Suffice to say, there will be approaches that will be in the best interests of our customers. We'll be smart on the licensing," McDermott said. That means both casual and "power" users will be accommodated, he added.

The Sybase acquisition will result in other developments beyond mobile software, according to SAP.

For one, work is under way to certify Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database for use with Business Suite. That work should be complete in the first half of next year, according to Sikka. He noted that SAP already supports a series of database platforms and stressed the difficulty of certifying one to run with Business Suite.

But there has been no decision made as to whether SAP will also certify older ERP releases such as R/3, Sikka said. "We're thinking about it."

SAP also intends to port its Business Warehouse, Business Objects Data Services and BI (business intelligence) software products to ASE.

Despite these plans, ASE will not be meant to supercede SAP's own MaxDB database, Sikka said. There are several thousand SAP customers using MaxDB, and the technology is also figuring into the company's upcoming analytic appliances, he added. "The world is big enough for all these innovations."

To that end, there are no plans to phase out any Sybase products, according to Sikka. "Period. Absolutely not."

However, some of SAP's own mobile middleware technologies will end up folded into Sybase's, he added. In addition, the companies intend to add in-memory computing capabilities across their data management portfolios.

Sikka also demonstrated an upcoming application that used some of Sybase's CEP (complex event processing) capabilities to deliver real-time information from oil rigs through dashboards and charts.

Overall, the event helped SAP and Sybase reiterate why they believe the acquisition made sense for both sides, according to 451 Group analyst China Martens. But some questions remain "on precisely how technologies will be integrated and more importantly, in areas of overlap, how long technologies will co-exist before SAP picks a winner," she said.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags databasesmobilebusiness issuessoftwareSAPmergers & acquistionssybase

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?