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SAP: How Sybase will give us mobility boost

Co-CEOs hope SAP's in-memory tech will make beautiful music with Sybase's database and mobile offerings

Co-CEOs hope SAP's in-memory tech will make beautiful music with Sybase's database and mobile offerings

Mobility is at the forefront of SAP's mind as its two recently installed co-CEOs celebrated their 100th day in charge of the company.

The two chief execs, Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott - installed after the departure of then-CEO Léo Apotheker in January - have already made their mark on SAP with the announcement last week that the company is to acquire database and BI software company Sybase for $5.8bn.

Speaking at SAP's Sapphire Now customer conference in Frankfurt and Orlando this week, the pair explained the thinking behind the buy, which would be SAP's second largest acquisition after its $6.8bn purchase of Business Objects in 2007.

When the Sybase deal goes through, the mobile, business intelligence and analytics software maker is likely to become an integral part of SAP's plans, according to the CEOs.

"We always said that we don't acquire to acquire market share or consolidate legacy, we want to acquire to move the company forward. Sybase is no exception to that rule. With Sybase we move ourselves very strongly into mobility," Snabe told the conference.

jim hageman snabe sap sapphire now

Jim Hagemann Snabe speaking at the Sapphire Now conference in Frankfurt this week
(Photo credit: SAP)

The mobile platform that Sybase has developed will allow SAP to rapidly develop more sophisticated technology for a growing array of mobile devices. "The moment you see our CRM running on an iPad you will understand the power of this partnership and that can happen immediately," Snabe added.

SAP's other CEO, Bill McDermott, also highlighted the importance of mobile technology to SAP in his keynote.

"Consumers are leading the mobile economy. In emerging markets like China, consumers have skipped the PC generation altogether. In fact mobility is the new desktop. Enterprise workers today expect their business applications to be mobile too," he said.

Following the acquisition, SAP will be able to combine Sybase's mobile and database technology with SAP's in-memory technology such as the Business Analytic Engine the company is currently developing.

In-memory analytics technology processes data where it's stored, rather than having to read from and write to a disk - reducing processing time considerably. The addition of such technology to the Sybase mobile platform means workers will be able to access information much more quickly than before.

"This is not just about making a report appear faster on the screen, this is about making new applications that, because of the size and volume of data, were impossible to calculate before. It gives unprecedented ad hoc analytical capabilities but also simulation capabilities," Snabe said at a Sapphire Now press conference.

McDermott added: "If SAP combines [Sybase's database technology] with mobility, in-memory computing and advanced analytics, we change the game. That's the big picture behind Sybase."