Skip to Content

This week I attended the SYBASE (an SAP Company :-)) Summit in Sydney and wanted to share some of the highlights and my insights from the day. As always this represents my own views and opinions and not those of SAP, SYBASE or the company I work for :-).

The theme of the day can be summarized by Manage, Analyse and Mobilse, but with all the hype and focus on Mobility it is easy to forget that SYBASE’s bread a butter has long been data management with their ASE database and Analytics with their IQ product. I won’t focus on these things since they really fall outside of my areas of interest/expertise but the two things I would like to note are:

 

  1. ASE v15.7 (transactional storage) is in the process of being certified to run the SAP Business Suite; and expects to be generally available by the end of this year (2011). I guess this will mean that SAP can sell the database as well as the business suite to customers. How that will affect MaxDB was a little unclear.
  2. IQ (analytical storage) is being integrated with many of the SAP Business Objects tools and products.

 

The keynote was co-presented by Willie Jow (VP Mobility) and Peter Thawley (Sr. Directory CTO Group). Willie focussed on the mobility side and Peter gave a good overview of what is happening in the data management and data analytics side of things. Some key points I noted were:

 

image

  • SYBASE is traditionally an infrastructure company and generally was always selling to the I.T. Department. With the acquisition by SAP they say that they are now selling to at the CxO level. This has opened a lot of new doors and new opportunities.
  • The distribution and replication of data has always been something that SYBASE excelled at and replication will be a linchpin technology that will tie together many components going forward; my understanding is that it is already used to “real-time replicate” data from ERP into HANA.
  • The combination of real-time data analysis (e.g. HANA) and mobility is likely to be one of the next killer applications in the enterprise.
  • The rate of change in the mobile space is staggering; having a strategic mobility platform is one way to protect your investment in mobility against this risk.
  • Companies who look at mobilizing their data as just another User Interface to existing systems are not seeing the big picture and should take the time to consider the opportunity to see mobilizing the enterprise as a paradigm shift in how they use their business systems. Take the “outside-in” rather than the “inside-out” approach.
  • People are passionate about their mobile devices and are very reluctant to be told what device they should use. We will see a big growth in BYO (Bring Your Own) device policies in organizations and this will drive the need for tools and policies to manage corporate and personal information on a single device across a range of different devices.
  • Many of the security challenges faced today in the mobile device landscape have been around since people started using laptops. They are however multiplied by the fact that people are more likely to take their mobile device with them and the devices are more likely to be always connected.
  • Offline capability is a key component to useful mobile applications. Depending on always being able to connect is generally not a good idea.
  • We will see the emergence of the Enterprise App Store, where organizations will be able to invite their people into the store and make their own and 3rdparty applications available for download. They will also be able to suggest public apps to use from the consumer app store or marketplace.
  • SYBASE Unwired Platform 2.0 adds support for HTML5. Support for Android is expected by early July 2011.
  • Not all devices are “Enterprise Ready” – SYBASE has worked extensively with Samsung to make sure that their Android devices are “Enterprise Ready”. The advice was don’t deploy corporate sensitive data onto any device that is not.
  • There are some obvious business cases for mobility (time = money, faster is better), however there are more subtle scenarios; take for example PIM and EMAIL… what is the business case for that? Yet everyone does it even though it is potentially hard to quantify. SYBASE are working with SAP Value Engineering to build the typical business cases and ROI examples for mobilizing the enterprise.
  • You are more likely to notice that you’re missing your phone than your wallet! (Which I guess makes sense since you are probably handling your phone more often than your wallet!)
  • Applications that run on the SYBASE Mobility Platform will come from 3 main sources: SAP (target 50 apps by end of 2011), Partners & Customers.
  • Some interesting things you can do with Afaria:
    • Disable the camera on the phone while inside secure facilities
    • Disable data roaming when travelling to costly destinations
    • Remotely lock and wipe the device as required
  • Samsung estimates that business sales of tablet devices will grow faster than consumer sales in the next 3 years!
  • SIM enabled devices will continue to outnumber non-SIM (Wi-Fi only) devices
  • Organizations are starting to replace laptops with tablets and many are delaying the refresh of laptops and providing tablets instead.
  • Mobile payments are becoming very popular (just not in Australia!). The future in this area is Near Field Communication (NFC) – for an example of how this works see the recent Google Wallet announcement. However you don’t need NFC by any means there are examples of mobile payments in Austria (PayBox) that predominately used SMS and are from 7 years ago.

                                         

I hope that gives you a good feeling for what was covered (at least in the mobility arena). One last thing I would like to mention is the talk that was given by Glen and Heather Singleman; Husband and Wife world record breaking base jumpers… if you need a bit of inspiration and some “never say die” attitude check them out here www.baseclimb.com . They are absolutely amazing and truly inspiring!

To report this post you need to login first.

6 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Graham Robinson
    Thanks for this wrap-up Simon.

    I would be interested in your impressions about how the Sybase organisation, partners and customers view the SAP acquisition and how they view SAP in general.

    As you know Sybase were conspicuous by the absence at the Mastering SAP Technologies conference in March. Was SAP represented at all at Sybase Summit?

    I note that the Sybase TechWave conference is being co-located with SAP Teched in Las Vegas this year. Do you think there will be a Sybase Summit in 2012?

    Cheers
    Graham Robbo

    (0) 
    1. Simon Kemp Post author
      Hi Graham,

      I think SYBASE themselves recognize the changes that have come about since the acquisition. The feeling I got was that it is opening doors for them at levels within organizations that perhaps were previously not open to them. The term “600 pound gorilla” was used on a few occasions during the day – but in a good way I think. I am sure that there would be certain tensions internally during any sort of takeover, that would be only natural – but my general feeling from what I saw was that integration was happening fast. I was reassured to hear that at an engineering level there was some great collaboration going on – which is my mind is extremely important. Of course there are clear areas where they have technology overlap and need to combine offerings – which will take time.

      As a partner I can probably give my view insomuch as I see it as a great opportunity to add value in the mobility space – SAP Netweaver Mobile never seemed to really gain much traction so it is great to now have the SYBASE platform to build on. The GTM is still a little unclear – I suppose in many ways SAP customers are one channel to market (albeit a big one) for SYBASE.

      I spoke to a few customers at the event and many of them were not really interested in SAP (i.e. they didn’t run SAP) – so the focus being quite SAP related might have been a bit confusing for them. SYBASE of course need to continue to look after their traditional customers (I didn’t realise they have over 40K customers and have been around for 25 years!).

      There was no SAP specific booth that I saw at the event, but there were quite a few SAP folk roaming around and presenting at the keynotes. I am not really sure what to make of SYBASE not being well represented at Mastering SAP… I probably wouldn’t read too much into that at this early stage.

      I think having a local Summit is important. Not everyone locally (in fact only a very small lucky percentage :-)) will be able to attend SAP TechEd – so I really hope they continue with local events like these.

      Thanks,
      Simon

      (0) 
  2. Bjorn Vilhjalmsson
    Will people that bring their own device, accept that it will possibly be crippled by corporate security policy, remotely wiped?  Without a some sort of separation of use (personal profile vs enterprise profile both running on the device) where enterprise IT can control and set security etc. while the user has his device to enterprise profile, I don’t see things moving forward so much.  VMWare is already working on this type of seperation on android devices and I do believe companies like Sybase should put an effort into this as well.

    http://www.infoworld.com/d/mobilize/vmware-shows-mobile-virtualization-android-581

    SAP has a long way to go with regards to integrating Sybase employees into the company and more importantly opening up the Sybase world to current SAP partners and customers.  The Netweaver mobile team was I believe merged with the Sybase team (taken over) but the Mobile world might just prove to be a little to fast moving for SAP, still no Android support in SUP and the coming support is based on the container only (HTML5 etc). 

    (0) 
    1. Simon Kemp Post author
      Hi Bjorn,

      Thanks for your comments. With respect to the separation of personal and corporate data on the device, it sounded to me like with Afaria you could already sandbox the corporate data and therefore only remove corporate data from the phone if you wanted to. Perhaps this depends on the device a bit but that was my impression.

      Cheers,
      Simon

      (0) 
  3. Jonathan Wilson
    Hi Simon,

    Thanks for taking the time to summarise the day for those of us who couldn’t make it (customer’s have to take priority I guess).

    Seems that there is a lot going on in this space, and there is no doubt that Sybase bring a lot more to SAP than just a Mobile Enterprise Application Platform.

    The importantance of enteprise security can’t be under-estimated and being able to prove this to enterprise customers will slow the ability of Sybase to incorporate the different mobile platforms, and I think this is what we are seeing with Android.

    I’m definitely interested in the content (i.e. apps) that SAP have committed to deliver, as I think this will ultimately drive adoption of the platform for many SAP customers.  This is an area where SAP have often struggled, but I am keeping my hopes up.

    Like BusinessObjects, I believe that Sybase need to maintain their own corporate identity.  SAP is just one of many enterprise applications that they can connect to, and while they can leverage the SAP customer base and provide improved connectivity to SAP products, they must also maintain (and improve) their ability to integrate with other enterprise systems.

    Like many SAP topics at the moment, there’s plenty more to talk about, and I look forward to your future contributions.

    Cheers,
    Jon

    (0) 
  4. Marlo Simon
    Hello Simon,

    Great insight about Sybase being able to reach the CxO level, makes total sense and this may accelerate broader adoption.

    “The rate of change in the mobile space is staggering”.
    Very, very difficult to any company to leverage all the platforms and provide management and security; Afaria and SUP must have short release cycles to try to stay on top.

    Enterprise App Stores will be the next nice thing that information designers/architects will be rolling out.

    Thanks for posting this update, I was hoping to get some news from this event.

    Regards,
    Marlo Simon.

    (0) 

Leave a Reply