SAP and RIM have announced a "co-innovation" partnership which will see all the enterprise-software company's applications made natively available on the BlackBerry smartphone.
The companies announced on Friday that the first of SAP's software to make it onto the BlackBerry will be its customer relationship management (CRM) application, which will be generally available for mobile use within a couple of months.
Salespeople who already employ SAP's CRM application will then be able to use it alongside the BlackBerry e-mail, address book and calendar applications after "only basic user training and minimal incremental IT infrastructure investments", the companies said.
According to co-chief executive of RIM Jim Balsillie, RIM is "bringing the unique benefits of the BlackBerry platform to SAP applications, providing organisations with the security, manageability, efficiency and 'push' capabilities of the BlackBerry platform, with a dedicated client application that also integrates with core BlackBerry applications".
Much in the same way that BlackBerry smartphones handle e-mail, it will be possible to use SAP's enterprise applications even without coverage, with updates queued on the handsets and back-end servers automatically transferring when the phone has coverage. It will also be possible to centrally manage and deploy the applications to the handsets.
In a Friday press conference, SAP president Bill McDermott referred to the idea of making SAP applications natively available on BlackBerry smartphones as "record-breaking and ground-shaking". Balsillie also referred to the native nature of the implementation as "the key element" of the deal.
The deal between the two companies will not, however, be exclusive. According to Balsillie, "that's not really how the world works.... The way you win customers in this world is really through the enabling strategies; it's not by precluding what customers can do. Even if [SAP] offered an exclusive to us, I wouldn't want it, because that would niche our product," he said.