SAP Co-CEOs: Mobile Is The New Desktop

By Evan Koblentz & Susan Nunziata — May 17, 2010

"Mobile is the new desktop" -- that's the proclamation from SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe on May 17 during the opening day of the company's SAPphire customer conference, being held simultaneously in Orlando, FL and Frankfurt Germany.
"Customers today have to run real-time businesses," said McDermott. "The pace of competition, the global consolidation in many industries that we see is forcing people to compete in real time, and locking the company's mission in unison has to happen in real time. To do that, you have to connect workers on the fly. Most workers are mobile and have to make decisions in real time that connect the boardroom to the shop floor."
He added: "This movement toward mobility is an unstoppable force."
SAP last week announced its plan to acquire enterprise mobility titan Sybase for $5.8 billion. The co-CEOs defended that price, and on May 17, 2010, released an open letter to customers and partners. On May 18, they jointly gave a keynote address at the conference that further drove home the company's commitment to mobile enterprise solutions.
McDermott reiterated that the planned Sybase acquisition will enable the two companies to share "the crown jewels" of their respective technologies while keeping Sybase operating as a separate companies. At the same time, he stressed, "We remain open to our ecosystem," which includes mobility partners such as Syclo.

Syclo used the Sapphire conference to debut two new SAP Super Apps for the BlackBerry platform

In addition to placing mobile on top, McDermott and Hagemann Snabe also emphasized the role of hosted software and the importance of acting on data in real-time -- both of which are major upgrades to the company's Business ByDesign software suite for mid-sized enterprises.
McDermott said SAP is confident that with Business ByDesign, the company has "the killer app" in this space.  "Point solutions always get consumed by the suite, the suite always wins," he said. "Customers have different needs and we're able to serve them on-premise, on-demand and on-device and maintain the integrity of the data throughout those business environments."

About 100 small businesses are currently using the solution, with a full commercial rollout planned for July 2010, according to Hagermann Snabe. He announced that the company is now taking orders for the solution at
In mobility, SAP announced that ByDesign will support mobile phones, but details are scarce. SAP did not explain the scope of the upcoming mobile software, nor which operating systems will be supported.
"Mobile is a very powerful conversation," said McDermott. "Our vision is to reach 1 billion users that actually touch SAP in some way, whether via mobile or using ByDesign."
SAP also said there's a new development environment planned for ByDesign, but did not specify whether that can be used for mobile applications or only for traditional and web applications.
More details, including SAP's additional elaboration about Sybase, are expected throughout this week.


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