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A few years ago, I had an opprotunity to participate in a day long SAP event where one of the key SAP Mobility Executives presented SAP’s new mobility strategy with a joke that we are revising it for the 7th time in as many years. Well, it definitely made the audience such as me giggle who had been following SAP’s mobility strategy since the days of SAPConsole and Mobile Engine.

With Sybase and now Syclo it would be the 9th revision or more if you still care to count. So how many attempts does it take to get it right?

Anyhow, when I heard the news yesterday, I was scratching my head and asking a question, why? With Sybase acquisition, I thought SAP had provided a clear path forward for customers and partners. SAP had also been aggressively marketing SUP and sold licenses in millions. Not to mention they paid a boat load of money for Sybase.

Both Syclo and Sybase offers competing technology and solutions in the same space so what is the real game plan here.

Did SAP realize they made a mistake with Sybase acquisition and that they should have gone with Syclo in the first place? Do they just want to keep Oracle away from Syclo? Or do they intend to acquire new customers with this deal (Sprint – Nextel type merger)? Will they offload Sybase and just keep Syclo?

SAP is yet to fully integrate SUP with Netweaver architecture and it would be interesting to know how they plan to integrate now Syclo in this mix.

I hope we would hear more on this from SAP over the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile I am certain this is going to create more confusion for customers and partners. I am also afraid many of the SUP projects/pilots may be put on hold until dust settles down and a clear (not vague) direction is provided from SAP. Existing SAP/Syclo customers would certainly be feeling energized though.

Bottom line: customers and partners now face a daunting task of updating their own SAP mobility strategy – for the 9th time perhaps?

(Please share your opinion and comments)

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18 Comments

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    From the point of view of a customer still trying to work out its mobile strategy this constant change is simply making me wait. I’m not about to make a major investment in skills and technology for a mobile platform that might become obsolete with SAP’s next purchase. SAP need to let things stabilise now. Please…

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  2. Narendra Agrawal Post author

    It is quite astonishing to see that a company that redefined enterprise computing with launch of SAP R/3 in 90s, still seems to be searching for a cohesive and reliable mobile strategy.

    SAP faced similar challenges with Web strategy when dot com was taking over the world but they could successfully overcome it by making significant internal technological investments supplemented with only some minor acquisitions.

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  3. Thomas Bezak

    SAP needs to engage their partners and foster development.
    No one can develop mobile apps when you are jumping through a ton of ambiguous
    licensing hoops just to get SUP installed and running so you can think about
    concepting an app. Then when you hit a roadblock where do you go? The Sybase
    forum? Wait they don’t have one. The SAP SCN forum that just lost all user buy
    in from this debacle of an upgrade? I’m lucky I even found this forum category.
    Books? Oh wait there are ZERO Sybase SUP books on SAP-Press or anywhere for
    that matter.

    I caught a webinar a while back and the SAP people were
    talking about $1000 charges to get one mobile app certified. Make an update to
    that app? $1000 more.

    You have to enable your developers and partners, not milk
    them for money.

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    1. John Moy

      Thomas, that comment you make about $1000 for each update to an app is concerning. As a registered Apple iOS developer, I see constant requests by Apple to update my apps to the latest incremental iOS release.  I don’t always do that, but if I had paid products under support that are used by enterprises, I would be compelled to do that.  Suddenly the ‘cost of support’ for an app could be many multiples more than one might expect.

      Thanks for sharing the information.

      Rgds

      John

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      1. Frank Koehntopp

        I would like to see that confirmed officially before starting to worry.

        However, looking at partner certification for other apps (which may be smaller) this may not seem that much. In contrast to consumer apps SAP customers (rightfully) expect SAP certified mobile apps to comply with lots of things, like being secure and not endangering their infrastructure. Checking and testing this is often complex due to the scenarios and involves highly skilled (and paid) experts. Not something Apple does, I’m sure…

        Frank.

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    2. Dennis Howlett

      That’s more than x2 what they were hinting at last year and certainly no talk about recertification fees. Maybe someone forgot to tell them about changing the champagne labels?

      More to the point – developers will vote with their wallets. Heck – they already have.

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      1. Frank Koehntopp

        Again, let’s wait for an official statement on fees before getting all worked up.

        Graham’s app looks neat, but I can think of many a bad thing somebody might do to it remotely… 😉 . With SAP, partners and individual developers going for mobile a central standardized way of integration is paramount. Don’t see that yet, either.

        Frank.

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        1. Dennis Howlett

          Frank Koehntopp – umm – I was talking to official sources on the record. I’m sure you can think of all sorts of ways to hack it but then anything is hackable – right?

          Your point about integration is moot in the face of what we currently see. It may be paramount but where’s the effort to recognise all platforms as of equal status?

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    3. Tobias Hofmann

      I too participated in a webinar, and the prices listed there were:

      700 EUR for 1 app (there was a discount when you have to get 4 apps certified). Without that certification you cannot put the app into the store.

      As that is a nice way to make sure that only SAP Partners are posting their app, the price tag posted when you need a custom BAPI is spicy:

      10.000 EUR when you app is using a custom BAPI and not a standard BAPI. In that case you have to hope that the standard BAPIs support your mobile scenario, if not … 10.700 EUR just for getting the app certified.

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        1. Tobias Hofmann

          Hi Dennis,

          well, that depends on your business scenario. To give you an idea: when you want to pass some mobile device information to the BAPI (like the device ID), you’ll most certainly have to use a custom BAPI

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          1. Dennis Howlett

            Excuse my ignorance (I’m not a coder) but shouldn’t that be standard? Wouldn’t that be considered part of standard authentication for secure connectivity?

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              1. Tobias Hofmann

                Or the GPS coordinates. Depends where and how you want to save that data. As said: depends on your scenario. Maybe you need a custom BAPI or not.

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      1. Jan Laros

        I don’t know about recertification costs, but can confirm that 10.000 euro for a custom ABAP Addon is included in the 990 fee. So if you send an app for certification to SAP and it requires custom ABAP, just bundle it as an ABAP Addon package and you won’t have to pay extra.

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  4. Andre Urban Blumberg

    We know now that SUP will survive and Syclo was acquired for the apps, so Agentry is dead. The question then is how will the Syclo apps live on? Presumably they will have to be ported to SUP? Who will do this, how and in what timeframe? Given SAP now has the Syclo mobile asset management apps, will licensed SAP MAM customers who have paid maintenance for years but never seen any further SAP investments finally get an upgrade? How would the migration work?

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