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Video: Interview with SAP CTO Vishal Sikka: Reflecting on the SAP-Sybase Event

On August 19, 2010, I attended the SAP-Sybase press event in Boston, Massachusetts. At the tail end of our afternoon blogger session with SAP CTO Vishal Sikka, I had the chance to shoot this on-the-fly video with Vishal where he fielded some online feedback on the event and offered his vision of the SAP-Sybase acquisition.

A number of analysts and virtual attendees raised the question of what actual news came out of this event. I wanted to give Vishal a chance to respond to this point. I also squeezed in a question on “Project Gateway” and when customers can expect to see it. The five minute video ends with a humorous moment courtesy a question that took Vishal by surprise.

So here’s the video. Read on for more context on this session.

During the video, Vishal also shared his vision of where he envisions the Sybase acquisition in three years’ time. Vishal brings out the point I heard from several other SAP executives: they believe a commitment to a rollout of an Enterprise Mobile Platform in nine months (with an SAP and SAP BO integrated SDK) is central to the news that came out of this day long event.

On the subject of Project Gateway, I should add that several SAP executives all told me that they intend to make Gateway available to the older SAP R/3 releases. They aren’t ready to commit to a specific release publicly just yet, but I expect SAP will have a formal statement on this down the line. For now, as Vishal alluded to in the video, Gateway is currently tied to specific products, but I’d be surprised if Gateway is not available on some broader level by SAPPHIRENOW 2011. However, again, SAP has not publicly committed to an exact timeframe on that.

Special thanks to Stacey Fish who not only lined up the video shoot but served as an impromptu tripod for my flipcam when other camera angles weren’t working. Joining me in the blogger session were Sue Keohan, Bob Ferrari, Kevin Benedict, and Michael Krigsman. I should add that having Sue in the session to offer a customer viewpoint (Sue works full-time for an SAP customer as well as being a Mentor and an ASUG volunteer) was valuable to all and a great example of how SAP’s blogger and Mentor initiatives continue to blur media lines in a way that I think is not only fruitful but cutting edge.

For those who missed the event and want to catch up on what happened, you can see the press releases and event replay in the SAP Press Room. The event hashtag was #SAPSybase and Dennis Howlett ran a Cover it Live session on ZDNet that can be replayed. I’m sure there is more analysis of the event to come – one useful post comes from Brian Sommer of ZDnet, who argues that the in-memory/analytics combo is the real game changer that didn’t get enough focus at the event.

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  • Hi Jon,

    Cool interview that brings out the essence of the press conference and then some.

    Icing is that you made him chuckle with your Blackberry iPhone question. Vishal played it well.

    Thanks, Mark.

  • Congrats to you and the others at the event.  This was an excellent interview and a great question at the end – something we were all thinking during the press conference.
  • Mark and Tammy – thanks for the good words. I guess we’ll never know which phone Mr. Sikka likes better. 🙂 But, it had to be asked! In all seriousness, I was glad for his candor and I think the candor of the blogger session was reflected in the video. Of course, I fall more in the camp that the acquisition makes sense but the execution is the key. So we’ll have a much better idea in a year.

    – Jon

  • …because I haven’t seen/heard the roadmap during the briefing session. It looked to me more as a session of acquisition justification for investors.
    Presented demo did not get me excited about the announcement of new mobile platform either. Although, as someone correctly noticed at Twitter – failed authorization showed that it worked at the real system 🙂
    As I am rewinding the tape of that briefing, it seem the most important statement was indeed publicly made commitment about stretching timeline – 9 months.
    We heard about “Timeless software”, “Clear enterprise”, now we are hearing “Unwired Enterprise”. These catch phrases do not seem to live longer than one year, so am curious what will be the buzz word in 2011?