Unwired in Vegas

What better place than Las Vegas for highly wired IT professionals to learn how to get “unwired?”

Vegas, the venue of the 10th annual Sybase TechWave conference, is where – on Tuesday – more than 1,200 attendees heard from Sybase Inc. chairman and CEO John Chen all about the wonders of the “unwired enterprise” – and how his company can help them get there quickly.

The term refers to Dublin, Calif.-based Sybase’s goal of enabling companies to deliver data to mobile devices in the field, as well as on desktops — combining technology from the firm’s existing data management products with its new mobility products.

Sybase has “big dreams” about the unwired enterprise, and is already delivering on those, Chen said in his opening keynote. “By now we have 1,000 customers worldwide using this architectural technique.”

The “unwired enterprise”, the Sybase CEO said, is now the cornerstone of his company’s technology strategy that:

  • Provides businesses with a way to bridge old and new technologies;
  • Helps them securely manage the array of mobile devices their employees use;
  • Offers unparalleled connectivity; and,
  • “Automates and mobilizes” work processes

With the advent of mobile wireless broadband, he said, these benefits are starting to become a reality.

Chen cited trends in the mobility space that support Sybase’s “unwired enterprise” vision.

“There’s a 14 per cent growth in mobile devices worldwide, and a 40 per cent growth in smart phones. Vendors are coming out with smaller devices that offer more capacity and have GPS capability. This opens up the door to new applications, and huge new opportunities for us.”

Sybase’s efforts and investments are focused on four broad areas, the CEO said – mobile middleware, messaging, database management and analytics.

It’s in the intersection of these that much opportunity lies, he said, adding that Sybase has been doing remarkably well in each of these areas.

For instance, he noted that in the past 12 months, the company gained 1,239 new customers for its flagship Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) relational database management product.

Sybase also snagged 200 new customers for IQ – its column-oriented database management system that stores data tables as sections of columns of data rather than as rows of data. “We now have 1,200 IQ customers across the world.”

The company, Chen said, also recruited 788 new mobile enterprise customers, and 164 new messaging customers – mostly telcos.

Likewise, he said, Sybase365 – the messaging services division of Sybase – had a banner year.

Washington D.C.-based Sybase 365 was created by the acquisition of Mobile 365, one of the world’s largest providers of messaging services and mobile enterprise software that delivers 3.5 billion messages per month.

“We added 800 million more phone numbers or subscribers to our Sybase 365 network,” Chen noted.

While growing dramatically in the mobile middleware and analytics space, the CEO suggested that Sybase continues to remain very strong in its traditional areas of expertise, such as data management.

The proof of this, he said, is the high growth numbers the company reported on the database front over the past 12 months — numbers that beat most analyst expectations.

“A year ago, everybody predicted mid- to high- single digit growth in our database market,” he recalled. “But we experienced from the second half of last year to the first half of this year a growth rate that has stayed in the mid teens.

He said Sybase’s growth in database license revenues exceeds that of other key players, including Oracle, IBM, Microsoft, and Teradata.

“We’ve just completed a quarter with 38 per cent license growth in the database [space],” Chen said, wondering aloud “why industry experts did not give Sybase a better marketshare.

The Sybase CEO said this performance is signficiant given 60 per cent growth in data volumes each year.

In addition to data volumes, the speed with which you can get data to people is also vital, Chen said. “People need information now, not 10 minutes from now. How do you provide relevant data with the right velocity?”

Sybase, said Chen, is making a run against established players in the datawarehousing field — such as Teradata.

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