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SAP steps into mobile with Sybase acquisition

2010 May 13

If you had any doubts about the pervasiveness of mobile, look no further than the SAP Sybase purchase announcement yesterday.

Instantly, SAP has become a formidable player in multiple mobile vertical markets. SAP runs the backend systems for many enterprises, including providing the core deposit software systems for a number of banks around world. SAP also gets leading database technology that lets them avoid giving $1B annually to arch competitor Oracle.

With Sybase, SAP can mobile-enable many of those services which previously would have involved difficult integration efforts at each company. That said, SAP is also known for lengthy integration efforts and obtuse user interfaces.

Sybase brings solid mobile messaging and mobile banking capabilities. Until now, mobile banking vendors have partnered with larger companies like Fiserv, FIS, Diebold, and NCR with varying levels of success. SAP’s move could spark a round of acquisitions as vendors feel the need to more fully integrate these solutions into their product set.

Integration and product development is the key to the success of this purchase. Mobile applications use data from disparate areas of the enterprise and often seem deceptively simple to implement. SAP will have a very compelling offering if they can make it work. SAP has the backend systems. SAP has the data analytics capabilities necessary for the highly targeted segmentation required in mobile marketing. SAP now has the infrastructure for SMS, mobile web and native mobile applications. SMS also gets a database and a platform for rich enterprise mobile applications.

If SAP gets this right, this unlocks a tidal wave of mobility. So far though, no one has really gotten it right.

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