With the acquisition of Sybase by SAP in May of 2010, SAP demonstrated their commitment to becoming the leader in enterprise mobility. The Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP) offering in the suite of Sybase products, the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP), provided SAP with a proven platform for mobility they could offer to the market. Not only does Sybase provide a MEAP solution, but it also offers a mobile commerce suite, Sybase 365, to empower organizations with tools and a solution mobile banking, payments, and remittances.
The drawback was that it created some confusion for customers and partners alike that had either already invested or were thinking of investing in its predecessor, the SAP NetWeaver Mobile Infrastructure. Many customers put their mobile initiatives on hold and waited to understand what it would all mean for them in the end.
To unlock the pent up demand and rebound from the post acquisition dip, SAP reacted quickly and provided a clear roadmap for SUP and positioned it as the next generation of SAP’s mobile platform for enterprise mobility with its main focus being on employee based applications on-premise. Customers and partners started investing again as SAP sold millions of SUP licenses in 2011 and onwards.
In April of 2012, SAP acquired another mobile provider, Syclo, who also had its own MEAP offering, the Agentry server, as well as some interesting mobile applications.
With the acquisition of an additional mobile platform and applications, SAP’s message to the masses of what will become of all the different mobile offerings came out a little faster, as they surely anticipated a similar reaction by customers and partners.
The message today from SAP is simple and clear. SAP will merge these three solutions (SUP, Sybase 365, and Syclo Agentry) into one unified environment. A triple play! They are currently referring to it as the SAP Mobile Platform (SMP).
Pretty straightforward and what would be expected, but the specifics on the HOW and WHEN is yet to be determined. SAP is first to admit that it can’t get it all done overnight. They plan to phase it out and deliver the various bits and parts as super sets of functionality into the SMP in phases.
So what are we supposed to do in the meantime? Wait some more? NO. The cost of waiting to get into the mobility game is too high – losing a competitive advantage by being late adopters can be very costly. Fortunately, SAP is promising that existing investments into the current platforms will be easily upgradeable to SMP. Therefore there is no need to wait, we can start now and migrate our investments to the unified platform as it becomes available.
To optimal approach to do this would be take an iterative approach to implementing the various mobile scenarios irrespective of the chosen platform. Start with small scenarios on a given platform and scale up in a progressive and iterative fashion, keeping in mind that the long-term goal will be to have everything running on the unified platform in the end.
The only dilemma we have now is to determine which offering to select today. Each offering has its strengths in different areas, so it depends on the mobile scenarios of primary focus, the short-term, and the long-term goals.
Here is a short list of what each component brings to the table and what they are ideal for.
The Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP)
- Employee based applications (B2E)
- On-Premise focussed
- Offers two access channels (Mobile Business Objects and oData)
- Online, always connected applications (workflows, light-weight applications)
- Robust Offline Capabilities
- Application Designer development gramework for front-end application development
- Ideal for robust, thick client applications with offline requirements
- Mobile commerce tools and solutions
- Mobile messaging
- Multiple platform support
The following diagram summarizes the planned SMP roadmap.
SMP 3.0 Enterprise will be the first release and will have SUP and the Syclo Agentry Platform integrated into one unified platform. These platforms focus mainly employee-facing applications (B2E).
- SMP 3.0 Consumer is the plan to transfer the existing Sybase 365 customer-facing (B2E) applications to SMP 3.0.
- SMP 3.0 Cloud is where they will support the management of B2E applications in the cloud.
- SMP 3.5 Cloud is the next phase where they plan to integrate the B2E and B2C platforms on-premise or in the cloud in addition to one, single development environment.
- SMP 4.0 will have everything unified (development and administration) in addition to integrate with other SAP solutions like SAP HANA.
The planned roadmap for SMP shows the integration of some interesting technologies in addition to the existing offerings from SUP and Syclo. The incorporation of the Cloud and HANA into the mix will really provide customers and partners with some exciting options for mobility. If we thought mobility was already exciting, there are some truly ground breaking times ahead.
The key takeaway messages from this are: SAP is indeed focusing their efforts on merging their mobile platforms into one unified environment; customers and partners should not wait to invest but need to get into the mobility game now and remember to be agile to stay competitive and abreast about all things mobile.
By Nadia Brasseur, Director of Mobility at /N SPRO