Hot Topic: Unstoppable Force
By Susan Nunziata and Evan Koblentz
With enterprise software juggernaut SAP declaring that mobile is the new desktop, the big question is whether this signifies the tipping point for enterprise mobility. Will enterprises soon take it for granted that all major software integrates mobile functionality?
"This movement toward mobility is an unstoppable force," says Bill McDermott, SAP Co-CEO.
SAP is certainly putting its money where its mouth is. On May 12, 2010, Philadelphia, PA-based SAP Americas signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sybase for $5.8 billion.
SAP customers have been "crying out for ways to extend applications" to mobile devices, says Stephen Drake, IDC's Program VP, Mobility & Telecom. "They may be able to improve their lot with Sybase, and get [its] components such as mobility management, database and security features that they may not have gotten elsewhere."
The deal could move SAP applications from "on-demand to on-device," adds Drake.
Among the assets SAP and Sybase can leverage are "are in-memory computing and a robust mobile platform that together bring the 'real-time enterprise' one step closer to reality," says Andrew Borg, Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, Aberdeen Group.
Both companies are emphasizing an "open ecosystem." Syclo, one of SAP's co-innovation partners, this spring debuted two new SAP Super Apps for the BlackBerry platform. And, even as SAP Americas was heralding its Sybase acquisition this spring, sister company SAP Ventures became part of a round of funding that will raise $12 million for Spring Wireless. Webalo, meanwhile, is highlighting high profile enterprises, such as Grupo Familia and Lionsgate Entertainment, which are using its solution to mobilize SAP apps.
Sybase, in turn, launched the Sybase Mobility Platform, designed as a "plug and play" framework for business-to-employee (b2e) and business-to-consumer (b2c) mobile apps across the enterprise. It features applications that SAP and Sybase have already had in development under an earlier co-innovation deal.