Small firms will ‘benefit big time’ from SAP-Sybase merger

Small and mid-sized firms looking to use business intelligence tools to improve their effectiveness with will benefit from the acquisition of Sybase by SAP,say technology analysts.

The collaboration could lower the entry cost for smaller firms rolling out analytics tools to employees and executives, said Shawn Rogers, vice-president, business intelligence (BI) practices at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

EMA is an IT management analyst firm based in Boulder, Colo.

Rogers said firms with many mobile users would enjoy some of the greatest benefits.

The Sybase buy, he predicted, would lead to more flexible and affordable business applications being developed for the mobile user.

“This was a very smart move by SAP.”

Sybase is known as a database company but also sells a set of products that allow users to deploy business applications on smart phones.

This interests SAP the most, according to Rogers.

Going places with geo-location

Rogers anticipates broader choice for smaller outfits seeking — not just analytics — but other Web tools as well.

These could include enterprise resource planning and customer relations management apps for mobile devices.

“There’s been pent up demand for such apps in both the large enterprise and SMB space,” he noted.

Rogers expects SAP to take full advantage of the Sybase 365 Network to expand its reach.

This mobile messaging network comes with geo-location capabilities.

Sybase 365 Network delivers nearly 6 billion mobile messages worldwide each month, according to the Sybase Web site.

“This,” says Rogers, “will allow SAP to leapfrog other mobile delivery providers.”

Since last year, Sybase 365 has been working on SMS Ad Exchange, a Web-based short message service than allows advertisers to target relevant ads at customers’ mobile devices.

The 365 Locator also uses an SMS geo-locator service that provides mobile users with turn-by-turn directions to a designated location.

Both these are very powerful tools that SAP can incorporate into its BI offerings to make them more compelling, Rogers said.

SAP’s smart (phone) move

Mobile industry insiders say Internet access through smart phones is exploding.

Canadian companies are starting to realize this and to take advantage of mobile Web sites, said Deborah Hall, managing director of web2mobile, a Toronto-based mobile apps firm.

“The number of people accessing company and social sites through mobile phones now stands at more than 100 million,” she said.

SAP wants to duplicate this consumer activity within the business community.

“With Sybase, we see the opportunity to dramatically accelerate our presence in mobility,” said Vishal Sikka, SAP chief technology officer during a conference call discussing the Sybase deal.He said many SAP customers, including the largest ones, are trying to access the most current information to make quick decisions.

“It’s hard to do that when mobile workers don’t have the data at their fingertips,” said SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe.

SAP will use Sybase’s mobile applications suite to let workers access their SAP business and analytics applications from all major mobile devices.

“This will literally connect the shop floor to the corner office,” said Bill McDermott, SAP’s other co-CEO.

(With files from James Niccolai)

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