Don't Call It a Comeback: SAP Leads Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Apps

Don't Call It a Comeback: SAP Leads Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Mobile Apps

Summary: I'm gonna knock you out. Mama said knock you out...


I'm gonna knock you out. Mama said knock you out...Gartner just released its Magic Quadrant report (read the full report for free here) on the best Mobile Application Development Platforms.

SAP - and pending acquisition, Syclo - knocked out the competition, taking 2 out of the top three spots in the Leader's Quadrant (Antenna Software was the third).

It was a huge move up and to the right for Sybase/SAP from prior years. So rather than quietly humblebrag about it, I think it deserves its own bombastic theme song from rapper LL Cool J:

Over the competition, I'm towerin'...

SAP and Syclo placed ahead of big names such as Adobe, RIM, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, IBM...22 firms in all.

Though anyone glancing at the chart can see who Gartner picked as the real leader:

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms

Don't call it comeback. I been here for years...

The Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP) has long been one of the leading Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms (MEAPs).

Similarly, Sybase 365's Mobiliser Platform is also a very popular Mobile Consumer Application Platform (MCAP).

So why did SAP leap to the top this year? Because the market is moving the way we anticipated, and embracing our vision.

Enterprises are eschewing the chaos of multiple mobile app development platforms, which they are discovering to be as much of a headache as coping with multiple unmanaged mobile devices on their networks.

Instead of choosing a best-of-breed MCAP to build that B2C marketing app and a separate MEAP for the field service apps, firms are "increasingly" looking "for a single MADP that can address most, if not all, of their future projects across all scenarios," Gartner says.

That's what the SAP Mobile Platform announced April 10th offers. It already combines SUP with SAP's vaunted back-end software (some via the Netweaver Gateway middleware), as well as SAP's fast-growing fleet of mobile business apps.

But very soon, the SAP Mobile Platform will integrate 365's Mobiliser for mobile banking and other B2C apps, as well as popular Web development platforms such as Adobe PhoneGap, Appcelerator and Sencha, and, eventually, the Syclo mobile business apps and platform that Gartner also ranks so highly.

Don't ever compare me to the rest that'll all get sliced and diced - Competition's payin' the price...

"SAP has one of the largest mobile development efforts, both in terms of devoted internal resources and partner management. Gartner observed partners actively integrating with SUP during 2011, and we anticipate that continuing in the long term," wrote Gartner.

Moreover, SAP "has the most flexible application development environment, offering plug-ins for Eclipse and Visual Studio, as well as a proprietary studio...Sybase continues to have the broadest device support among all the multichannel vendors, and the strongest MDM offering, Afaria."

Rockin our peers and puttin' suckas in fear...

Meanwhile, "SUP has a widening support base" due to "significant market traction" and partners like Syclo and Sky Technologies integrating with SUP, wrote Gartner.

And the "Sybase 365 platform is scaling well in mobile banking, especially in emerging economies," said Gartner. "It has a large global reach [and the] SAP's mobile messaging offering is best-of-breed, with strong database/interface support, global reach, campaign management and prebuilt application modules.


Speaking of free analyst reports, Forrester Research just published a report entitled "Mobile is the New Face of Engagement."

In it, analysts Ted Schadler and John C. McCarthy make the Big Argument that smartphone apps are developing contextual intelligence based on our location and other app usage.

That means that apps will proactively cater to us in a much more holistic and personalized way.

To me, it sounds like the early manifestations of what we may later label as the beginnings of Artificial Intelligence, albeit at the network, not single computer, level.

Whatever you call it, the shift will have major implications on enterprises, who need to step and create an Office of the Chief Mobility Officer to keep up on this enterprise strategy.

You can download the whitepaper here.

Topics: ÜberTech, CXO, IT Priorities

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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  • SAP & Mobile - and what's in the future...

    Interesting how SAP - not a company that one associates with being cool and cutting edge - is leading the Gartner MQ in perhaps the single hottest area of application development!

    If the iPhone opened the door to the possibilities of mobile applications, the iPad has kicked the door off of its hinges!

    The first wave of enterprise mobile apps essentially is just porting capabilities from the desktop apps to a mobile device. This is not the future.

    Think about this: All previous enterprise application development has for the most part taken for granted that applications would be used by workers sitting at desks on PCs that have only keyboards for data input. So, porting these applications to a tablet is a small step forward. For this HTML5 may suffice - and that's esentially what SAP gets with their Sencha, Appcelerator and Phonegap announcement a few weeks back.

    The real future of enterprise mobile applications will:
    1. leverage the many available sensors that existing on mobile devices (gps, camera, microphone, etc.. -- and others that will arrive air pressure, temperature, humidity..), and;
    2. **combine sensor input with workflow / app functionality / rules based systems to enable NEW types of applications.**

    Using the sensors on mobile devices requires program/programmer native access to those sensors. A example of this can be seen here: http://xamarin.com/apps/app/justenough_mobile_sfa_for_netsuite

    So, the technology today enables capabilities that for the most part enterprises don't have a roadmap on how to leverage!!

    How to move forward? Enterprises need to create mobility swat teams to examine how workflow, departmental value propositions and customer interactions can be accelerated, streamlined and simplified with NEW applications.

    Ka-Ching for Accenture, IBM, HP, Deloitte and other SAP services companies.

    The key issues here:

    1. API access to all of each device's sensors
    2. Native UX
    3. On-device app performance & battery efficiency
    4. Non-internet-connected, stand-alone capabilities
    5. Accelerating and simplifying workflows; supporting and improving departmental value propositions; integrating "presence with process"

    Quite separately, I would suspect the biggest developments in mobile applications will be made in networking device-embedded applications as much as, or more than, apps for people to use on devices carried by people. This is because people are expensive, and embedded devices are cheap. We've already seen some of this with RFID and active Wi-Fi asset tags. But we'll see much, much more development here very quickly. It's easy to see how a number of SAP systems would like to capture, manage, report and make decisions based on machine-sensor data input.

    Phew! Didn't start out this post meaning to write a white-papers! LOL
    the undude
    • You make great points

      Mobile sensor data + workflows creates the contextual intelligence that Forrester Research talks about in the (free) report I mention above.

      And your second point about networking device-embedded apps harmonizes with what others have said about today's app/device-centric model of enterprise mobility being swallowed up by a larger wave, that of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication.

      It's really complex - which may be why enterprises will turn to unified development platforms provided they can keep pace with the best-of-breed, tactic-oriented rivals.
  • TallyMarks Consulting

    TallyMarks Consulting has successfully implemented SAP BI and Business Objects in a record time of 5 months at Getz Pharma. For more details on this cost effective project by the market leader, visit: http://www.tallymarks.co/
    TallyMarks Consulting
  • Misleading! And this is paid for and written by SAP!

    The report does not rate SAP highly for mobile apps, it rates SAP highly (only relative to others - no one is really far "up and to the right") for mobile app development platforms. The title on this article is VERY misleading - and it is totally buried that this is blog was SPONSORED BY SAP, and that the author WORKS FOR SAP.

    Really beneath you, SAP ... :(
  • No intention to deceive

    @irregularenterprise There was no intention to deceive. I simply thought writing "development platforms" would make the headline too long (it would've jumped to 3 lines, which any editor will tell you is terrible).

    If you look at the first paragraph, I actually BOLD the entire phrase, Mobile Applications Development Platforms, to make it clear that I mean platforms.

    As for the sponsored side of things, it's spelled out in my bio that SAP is my employer. In the text, I wrote in the "we" voice, which would make it obvious that I am part of SAP.

    So my cards are on the table. Are yours?
  • What about the magic quadrant itself?

    The instability in the mobile market, caused by the dynamic landscape of operating systems and a move to BYOD for business, is further confused by Gartner???s Magic Quadrant for ???Mobile Application Development Platforms??? published recently. On a single quadrant it mixes OS developers, shareware frameworks, consumer platforms and full enterprise strength platforms.

    In my opinion, key questions that companies ask when choosing mobile platforms for enterprise wide deployments were in reality not asked or considered by Gartner. Not to say the Quadrant doesn't have value, it just leaves one wondering about the rest of the ecosystem. Some of these not-asked questions are:
    1. Can the platform guarantee data transfer to and from the mobile worker? Essential for enterprise, not so much for consumers???.missing on more than 50% of assessed vendors.
    2. Can the mobile app talk to the device capabilities of GPS, camera or barcode/rfid? Not possible for an HTML5 app unless additional proprietary wrappers are added for each device type.
    3. Can the mobile user run offline for hours or even days? Again essential in enterprise, not at all for consumers and tortured under HTML5.
    4. Can your IDE write once and deploy anywhere? Or, do you have to move out of the tool for the last 20% of the app making the ongoing maintenance difficult and costly? For their top two ???visionary??? vendors the answer is the later.
    5. How do you deal with referential data for enterprise apps? Not much, would be the answer for platforms coming from consumer based legacy design.
    6. How is corporate security incorporated? How does the platform fit with my established corporate directories? Silence from most of the Quadrant vendors.

    Consumer and business mobile expectations are converging: intuitive, fast, any OS, any device size. However, B2E demands a robustness that is simply not required in B2C and proposing that B2C or shareware frameworks deliver to these needs is poor advice.

    But this does not need to be argued ??? in the next 6 months the first HTML5 apps will deploy in complex enterprise environments like field service ??? and the end user experience with working offline and the limitations on both collecting and referring to data will be the answer to this debate.
    Retriever Communications
    • Good Devil's Advocate Argument that misses one key point

      @Clifford96 I think you raise some good contrarian points. Putting MEAPs (mobile enterprise app platforms) and MCAPs (mobile consumer app platforms) in the same overarching MADP (mobile app dev platform) category still feels a little...well, not mixing apples and oranges, but more like Fujis with Red Delicious.

      But you have to consider the target audience of Gartner's report: enterprises. MCAP vendors are now touting themselves to this market b/c of the advantages (ease and speed of development) that they do offer. But there are many tradeoffs for enterprises (and their ISVs) that didn't matter when it came to consumers. If Gartner were in the business of catering to consumers (and their ISVs), this Magic Quadrant would have look very different. As it is, I think it does a reasonably good job for the audience in mind.