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The Hidden Roadmap Details from SAP/Sybase Media Day

SAP and Sybase shared more concrete details about their integration and roadmap plans during the second-half of Thursday's media day that many analysts and journalists missed. Here's a summary.

One recurring complaint from those watching Thursday morning's SAP/Sybase media webcast with SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe and Sybase CEO John Chen was the lack of detail around product roadmaps and integrations. As one wag, CIO magazine columnist Thomas Wailgum, tweeted: "question: how many analysts/bloggers does it take to analyze an event with no new news?"

Turns out those who made the actual trek to the Fairmont Copley Hotel in Boston and stuck around after the rubber chicken lunch were rewarded with a tastier dessert.

SAP/Sybase convergence: Besides the announced, heavily-anticipated porting of Sybase's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) database to support SAP's Business Suite, the companies plan to roll out in-memory-enabled Enterprise Process Management (EPM) applications and "extreme OLTP [OnLine Transaction Processing]" in the next 9-18 months, wrote Forrester analyst Paul Hamerman, who attended the afternoon roadmap sessions.

While bullish on the performance potential of in-memory technology, Sybase plans to blend in-memory and slower disk storage in ratios that make sense for corporate needs and budgets, according to chief marketing officer Raj Nathan.

SAP also showed a "business analytics stack that integrates Business Objects, Sybase, in-memory DB, etc.," noted ZDNet's Michael Krigsman.

Indeed, there was so much more discussion of data management and analysis in the afternoon that IDC's Carl Olofson opined: "At the #SAPSybase event, they buried the lead: the mobile info stuff is great, but its power is in the #Sybase EIM [Enterprise Information Management] of ASE and Rep(lication) Server."

Mobile: Project Gateway will extend the Sybase Unwired Platform (SUP, for app development) and Afaria device management software to the SAP Business Suite. But SAP and Sybase also plan to bring Gateway to older SAP R/3 releases, according to SAP Mentor Jon Reed, though no release date was announced.

(Reed added in a comment which I've pulled up here: "I checked with Kevin Benedict of Netcentric-Strategies.com - also an SAP Mentor. He confirmed that SUP is agnostic and as such compatible with all SAP releases already. Project Gateway is different and SAP-specific for the reasons noted in my previous comment. Both SUP and Gateway will have relevant to the Enterprise Mobility platform SAP committed to rolling out in nine months time.")

The firms also plan to build a team to mobilize SAP apps first in the areas of retail, customer relationship management and consumer packaged goods, according to Nick Brown, senior vice-president for mobility at SAP. These will be similar to the mobile versions of SAP's sales and workflow apps that Sybase has already built.

SAP is so bullish on mobile that, according to Hamerman, it "believes in 5 to 10 years, all interactions with applications will be done through a mobile device."

Sybase, meanwhile, talked up "machine to machine mobile communications, enable processes without human intervention. Scary sci-fi stuff," according to Hamerman.

Ecosystem: Sybase's mobile middleware (Afaria and SUP) will "likely push partners to change their focus to apps," tweeted independent analyst, Kevin Benedict. SAP partners such as Clicksoftware and Syclo are examples of firms that are already adapting to the new reality, in which there will still be "big upside," according to analyst Merv Adrian.

Financial Services: Sybase plans to target its risk management platform at the insurance industry, says Adrian, quoting Raj Nathan. Sybase plans to rename its Complex Event Processing (CEP) products, which include the recently-acquired Aleri, as the Sybase Event Stream Platform, according to Adrian.