Terry Stepien, president of SAP Sybase's iAnywhere unit, said enterprises will "mostly using HTML 5" in two years to deliver business software to various devices.
Stepien, speaking to bloggers at SAP's Sapphire conference in Orlando, was outlining the Sybase integration and plans to deliver enterprise apps to mobile devices. SAP is planning to outline Sybase integration on Tuesday and building on one mobile stack. Today, SAP apps are built on mobile NetWeaver as well as Sybase's platform.
As noted before, SAP is working toward HTML 5 as a way to hit multiple devices such as Apple's iPad, RIM's PlayBook and Android tablets. Today, Adobe's Flash---a delivery method for enterprise dashboards---can hit PlayBooks and Android devices, but that leaves out the iPad, which is all over corporations.
Stepien acknowledged that SAP and Sybase are focused on bringing easy mobility wins to customers---automating paper processes for instance---but HTML 5 will matter more as mobile commerce and analytics takes hold. Oddly enough, Sybase didn't have much HTML 5 mojo on the Sapphire mobile showcase. "Two years from now the enterprise will be mostly using HTML 5. When that will be is the tougher question," said Stepien.
Indeed, enterprises are just trying to get data to mobile devices today. Stepian said partners like Accenture and CapGemini will start bringing apps to HTML 5. Enterprises will then start bolstering their in-house HTML 5 capabilities. At the management level, executives get HTML 5, but the bench isn't deep enough inside enterprises. "Companies "need to have more bench strength to be able to do HTML 5," said Stepien.
So what will push companies to HTML 5? The general theme is that HTML 5's multiplatform appeal. "It's hard to run Flash on the iPad," said Stepien.
My take: Two years to HTML 5 may be a stretch without some major tipping point. Today, companies are going for easy mobility wins and that means surfacing old apps and data to mobile devices.
Among other key points:
- Stepien said that he expects the PlayBook to be a solid enterprise tablet. "This is a point in time comment, but enterprises will lean toward BlackBerry because they already have infrastructure in place," said Stepien. "It's the natural course."
- When asked about Android devices, Stepien said they will show some traction, but RIM's backend infrastructure and installed base will be a moat around its business.
- SAP has native apps on platforms and they will support disconnected mode. "Apps have to run disconnected," said Stepien.