Check the order of the prior sentence. It's important. Users, rather than vendors, appear to be driving mobile BI, in stark contrast to many other BI features and functionalities pushed by vendors despite the seeming disinterest of users.
Thus, it's no surprise that SAP just announced that its partners that sell the Business All-in-One ERP suite and Business Objects analytics software can now offer customers Sybase mobile technology and applications. As CIO.com reports, SAP is trying hard to capitalize on last year's purchase of Sybase.
As IT Business Edge's Mike Vizard wrote in May, SAP hopes to change the way business is conducted by combining inexpensive in-memory analytics applications that will be accessible from almost any mobile computing device connected to multiple cloud computing services. Mobility was a key part of the message delivered by SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott in his Sapphire Now keynote.
At that event, SAP released a series of mobile computing applications that run on top of a version 2.0 release of the Sybase Unwired Platform, which was also updated to include a software development kit (SDK) that will allow customers to build their own custom apps on the platform. The apps can be integrated with version 6.0 of the SAP ERP suite. Such apps, whether built by SAP or third parties, will be available through a new SAP online store.
Partners can now sell the Sybase Afaria mobile device management and security toolset, the Unwired mobile development platform and a pair of applications that provide mobile connections into SAP's Business Suite and CRM software. They can also use Sybase technology to develop and sell custom apps and services.
Selling custom apps seems like a great opportunity for SAP partners. But the CIO.com article quotes Jon Reed, an independent analyst who follows SAP, as saying few partners probably possess knowledge of both All-in-One and mobile application development. The article does mention one partner, Texas-based systems integrator Optimal, that plans to aggressively go after the market for mobile BI and other SAP apps.
Friedrich Neumeyer, SAP senior vice president, volume reseller and service partners, global ecosystem and channels (wow, what a title), says SAP will focus primarily on mobile apps with features appropriate for a wide range of industries while leaving more specialized development largely to its partners.
As IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson wrote yesterday, several tablet manufacturers including RIM and Samsung are promoting tight integration with SAP and other enterprise software, in an effort to win corporate business.