Government // Mobile & Wireless
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5/13/2010
11:34 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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SAP Smart To Snare Sybase's Mobile Mojo

SAP's $5.8-billion acquisition of Sybase should finally put some momentum behind the movement of business-critical enterprise software apps onto smartphones. That's something today's increasingly mobile corporate workforces need. However, deployment has proceeded at a snail's pace, probably because the enabling expertise has been centered in pockets outside of the mainstream of the enterprise software-development community.

SAP's $5.8-billion acquisition of Sybase should finally put some momentum behind the movement of business-critical enterprise software apps onto smartphones. That's something today's increasingly mobile corporate workforces need. However, deployment has proceeded at a snail's pace, probably because the enabling expertise has been centered in pockets outside of the mainstream of the enterprise software-development community.What SAP realized a little over a year ago is that Sybase is one those pockets, and it's a big one. In March, 2009, SAP signed up Sybase to help put SAP's enterprise apps onto mobile platforms. With the acquisition, SAP is making that marriage permanent, and perhaps firing a shot across the bow of competitor Oracle, which has partnered with Antenna Software to get its apps smartphone-enabled.

It's notable to me that SAP emphasized the mobile angle so prominently in its Wednesday press release announcing the planned Sybase acquisition:

"Sybase's innovative mobile platform can connect all applications and data (SAP and non-SAP) and enable them on mobile devices. SAP, Sybase and their customers will be able to tap into Sybase's messaging network to reach 4 billion mobile subscribers through 850+ operator relationships worldwide and engage their consumers via alerts, transactions and promotions on their mobile devices."

I'm what I'd classify as an extreme proponent of mobile apps becoming the dominant mode in which we work. That was perhaps a radical idea in October 2008, when I wrote the InformationWeek cover story, Is The Smartphone Your Next Computer?. Now, since the release of the iPad, probably not so much.

Yet I remain aghast that there are so many folks who belittle any form of work which isn't tied to a overblown, PC-bound document or PowerPoint presentation. People, the work of the future is simply not going to be text-based. It will be lightweight -- those mobile apps, again -- video (unified communicatiosn), or numerical (spreadsheets).

Those who don't get this are doomed to be reading dead-tree content while subsisting on their Social Security checks.

OK, so rant off. Meanwhile, please check out this short, three-minute podcast, recording in March 2009. I chat with Sybase chief marketing officer Raj Nathan and SAP vice president Vinay Iyer about their then just-inked joint deal to help get SAP apps onto smartphones. You can listen by pressing the tiny play button here, or go to the floating player at the bottom of this post.

Follow me on Twitter: (@awolfe58)

What's your take? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at alex@alexwolfe.net.

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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.

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