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At Sapphire 2010, not only did SAP discuss their intent to acquire Sybase, but they also announced Project Gateway. Project Gateway is an API layer (gateway) that is designed for simple mobile applications and M2M (machine to machine) integrations with SAP. The intent as I understand it is for SUP (Sybase Unwired Platform) to be the integration layer for complex mobile applications (rich/thick clients) that require advanced synchronization technologies, and Project Gateway for lightweight iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and other micro applications.

SAP was quick to add that mobility partners can develop and use their own integration methodologies as well.  They espoused the virtues of choice.  As a result, I see the following integration options:

  • SAP’s strategy for integrating advanced rich or thick client mobile applications will be SUP.
  • SAP’s strategy for integrating lightweight mobile applications will be Project Gateway.
  • SAP also certifies a variety of integration strategies specific to various mobility partners.
  • Customized integrations.

SAP mobility partners that have invested heavily into their own integration and mobile middleware technologies must now consider supporting multiple integration strategies – their own and SAP’s.  This may increase their development and support costs, but adding flexibility nearly always does.

Mobile enterprise application vendors often support many ERPs and business applications. Their current inventory of mobile middleware and integration tools may continue to be needed in these non-SAP environments.  It seems it will be up to the end customer to choose their favorite flavor of integration and middleware.  This will be an important decision for the end customer that will impact TCO (total cost of ownership).

Some of the SAP mobility partners have already decided to consolidate all of their middleware needs on the SUP. They don’t want the expense of developing and supporting two different integration and middleware technology platforms and like the idea of leaving middleware issues to someone else.  If more vendors follow this move, Sybase will generate more sales and profits as a result of this trend. SAP has said they intend to operate Sybase as an independent business unit and I believe SAP can generate “new money” as a result of influencing vendors to adopt SUP.

If you are interested in the enterprise mobility market, I put together the latest market numbers and uploaded it to Mobility News Weekly.

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