SAP-Sybase bullish on growth and Asia

With Sybase swiftly in the German software vendor's fold, the new company's enhanced value proposition will be apt for businesses in the region, say execs.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor on

With Sybase swiftly in SAP's fold, the new company's value proposition will be particularly attractive to businesses in the Asia-Pacific region, executives from both companies said last week.

Speaking to ZDNet Asia in a phone interview from Boston, co-CEO of SAP Bill McDermott detailed technology milestones the company is working toward, highlighting the "record time" that SAP and Sybase took to come together and integrate their products.

The German enterprise applications vendor finalized the acquisition of Sybase on Jul. 30, just 2.5 months after the two companies' announcement of the US$5.8 billion deal on May 12. Sybase remains a separately-run entity but is branded "a SAP company".

According to McDermott, SAP and Sybase have committed to rolling out within nine months a new mobile platform that will enable "breakthrough mobile applications on-device" for customers globally. The platform lets the companies' customers and partners build new mobile experiences on top of existing applications, including the SAP Business Suite.

Both SAP and Sybase will also share their intellectual property around in-memory technology, integrate SAP's BusinessObjects business intelligence with Sybase's analytics, as well as certify and optimize Sybase's database platforms with the SAP Business Suite.

Reiterating the importance of mobility to SAP's enterprise play, the executive noted that there are today billions of mobile workers and trillions of devices. To that end, CEOs are looking to "connect their virtual boardroom strategy to the shop floor where the mobile worker is at work". This is so they and the different management tiers can better manage business processes and make the right decisions via "analytics at the speed of thought".

"When things aren't [going well], the software tells the decision-makers they have a decision to make. Ultimately, someone with a device--a mobile device--has to execute on that big decision," he explained. "This connection between the boardroom and the person on the shop floor or in front of the customer is the game-changer."

John Chen, chairman, CEO and president of Sybase, pointed out that within the Asia-Pacific region, there are "a lot of economies that are up-and-coming". These markets are maturing in their use of enterprise software.

"The No. 1 objective of all the Asian countries is to become global, especially in the case of China," he said during the call. "As they become global their business processes need to change. As these change, they need the software that SAP provides--the enterprise applications."

Both SAP and Sybase, added Chen, will be looking to encourage such companies to put in place "more global, comprehensive enterprise application infrastructures", using Sybase's middleware to bridge the gap. Eventually, mobility can be worked into the equation, he said.

Concurring, McDermott said the focus in the Asia-Pacific region is around globalization, business processes and setting standards.

The region is probably the fastest-growing in the area of mobility "for the foreseeable future", he added.

"Mobility is the force multiplying effect...all the people in the company and in the company's business network [get to] be far more productive working with this data and analytics to make well-informed decisions to run their companies better," he said.

"This is kind of like [the] cherry on top of a beautiful cake."

Acquisition unlike others
According to McDermott, SAP's acquisition of Sybase has been "unlike anything that has happened for quite a while" for large-scale takeovers in the IT industry.

Contrary to stories of rationalization and layoffs, the marriage between SAP and Sybase has maintained a positive front. "We explained to people that we are going to increase jobs, that we are going to sell more software, and [that] we're actually going to need more real estate space because it's going to be a big growth company," he said.

Both McDermott and Chen noted that expansion plans for the two companies include the Asia-Pacific region.

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