SAP taps Sybase for mobile app tool update

The enterprise software maker has launched a new version of Sybase Unwired and given details of an SDK revamp as it looks to marry mobile apps with business
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

SAP has updated its Sybase Unwired platform and software development kit, which can be used to create enterprise applications for the iPhone and other mobile devices.

Jim Hagemann Snabe SAP

SAP co-chief executive Jim Hagemann Snabe has announced an update to the Sybase Unwired platform and SDK. Photo credit: Gregor Wolf/Flickr

The enterprise software maker launched Sybase Unwired 2.0 and gave details of new features in its software development kit (SDK) at its Sapphire Now event on Tuesday. The products provide tools for creating mobile applications based around workflow management and back-office integration with other systems, as well as other business processes.

"So far mobility is a consumer play. We believe it's time to connect mobility to business processes and information," SAP co-chief executive Jim Hagemann Snabe said during a keynote speech at the event in Orlando, Florida.

After buying Sybase in summer 2010, SAP said it planned to use the company's mobile infrastructure technology to "dramatically expand" its market by reaching hundreds of millions of mobile users. The German enterprise software maker's push in mobile reflects the technology industry's belief that the 'consumerisation' of IT is driving change in businesses.

"The pervasiveness of mobility and impact on consumers to businesses make it one of the most profound transformations in IT history," Raj Nathan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Sybase, said in a statement. "It is proven that regardless of industry or size, a mobile enterprise is a fertile field for business innovation, competitive growth and profitability."

Unwired toolset

The standards-based Unwired toolset can be used to create native apps for a variety of devices, as well as device-agnostic web apps. It can also integrate the apps with back-end systems via SAP-certified or open-standard connectors, such as JDBC and RESTful web services.

The Sybase Unwired platform and SDK can be used in conjunction with Sybase Afaria mobile management tools to manage the whole application lifecycle, including deployment, management and updates, SAP said.

The platform offers support for multiple mobile operating systems including iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. Android support is also planned for Q2 2011, SAP said.

It also offers a number of enterprise security features such as single sign-on for SAP back-end systems and encrypted HTML 5 web storage and data transport.

The Sybase Unwired 2.0 platform is available now and the SDK is planned to be "generally available within the next few months", the company said.

Enterprise mobility apps

Also on Tuesday, SAP announced a range of enterprise mobility apps built using the Sybase Unwired platform that target specific vertical industries such as manufacturing, consumer products, utilities, high tech, oil, gas and retail.

During his keynote, Hagemann Snabe described the launch as a "whole new category of applications" that "fundamentally need to be mobile and analytical".

Packaging and delivering the apps in this way reduces complexity and cost for customers wanting to implement a mobile strategy, according to SAP.

Other enterprise software vendors, such as Salesforce and Oracle, also provide tools for developing bespoke applications that are accessible from mobile devices such as the iPhone or iPad. SAP plans to add mobile analytics to some of the apps in order to differentiate them from its rivals.

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