One year after signing a partnership agreement whereby SAP agreed to build all of its mobile applications on the Sybase Unwired Platform, the two companies Tuesday announced the initial fruit of their labors: Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM and Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite.
The CRM app gives sales professionals mobile access to information and processes in SAP CRM 2007 through iPhones and Windows Mobile devices. The Workflow app -- released for iPhone, Windows and Symbian devices -- lets mobile workers respond to alerts and complete tasks such as time recording and travel requests through an e-mail inbox.
Both applications are available immediately. A BlackBerry version of the CRM application is to be released later this year and will replace SAP's current BlackBerry Sales Client for SAP CRM, which was jointly developed with device manufacturer Research In Motion.
SAP chose Sybase as a partner because it offered a leading mobile development platform. "Given the explosion in the use of smartphones, going it alone developing applications across all devices was complex and not scalable," said Vinay Iyer, head of CRM marketing at SAP. "We needed a platform approach so we could implement once and deploy across multiple devices."
SAP rivals Oracle and Saleforce.com have developed and support their own mobile development platforms. The Oracle Application Development Framework Mobile Client relies on mobile browsers for cross-device compatibility. The Force.com development environment supports BlackBerry, iPhone, and Windows Mobile devices.
SAP customers may buy the new CRM and Workflow apps from SAP, Sybase, or directly from device manufacturers through outlets such as the Apple iPhone App Store. In doing so they also gain access to Sybase Unwired Platform support for development, customization, and centralized device administrative and security controls.
"These applications support limited customization natively, but we also provide source code and support open development standards so companies can extend functionality and tap into other data sources," said Senthil Krishnapillai, a director of product management at Sybase.
There is an Eclipse plug in for development, and the platform supports ODBC and JDBC backend connectivity. Sybase Unwired also lets enterprises take control over just a portion of devices so smartphones owned by employees can be managed and secured as reliably as corporate devices. The skills and training needed for device and security management are minimal, according to Krishnapillai.
Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM costs $15 per user, per month and is also available with a perpetual license at $405 per user. Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite costs $10 per user, per month or $275 per user for a perpetual client. These costs do not include required server software, server hardware, or the underlying SAP applications accessed through the mobile clients.
Building A Mobile Business MindsetAmong 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
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