Sybase Summit 2011

Simon Kemp shares the insights he gained at the Sybase Summit in Sydney on what’s ahead in the mobility space.

This week I attended the Sybase (an SAP Company) Summit in Sydney and wanted to share some of the highlights and my insights from the day. As always, this represents my own views and opinions and not those of SAP, Sybase or the company I work for.
The theme of the day can be summarized by ‘Manage, Analyse and Mobilise’, but with all the hype and focus on mobility it is easy to forget that Sybase’s bread a butter has long been data management with their ASE database and Analytics with their IQ product. I won’t focus on these things since they really fall outside of my areas of interest/expertise but the two things I would like to note are:  

  1. ASE v15.7 (transactional storage) is in the process of being certified to run the SAP Business Suite, and Sybase expects it to be generally available by the end of this year. I guess this will mean that SAP can sell the database as well as the Business Suite to customers, but how that will affect MaxDB was a little unclear.
  2. IQ (analytical storage) is being integrated with many of the SAP BusinessObjects tools and products.

The keynote was co-presented by Willie Jow (VP of mobility solutions, Sybase) and Peter Thawley (senior director and architect, CTO Group, Sybase). Willie focssed on the mobility side and Peter gave a good overview of what is happening in the data management and data analytics side of things. Some key points I noted were:

  • Sybase is traditionally an infrastructure company and generally was always selling to the IT department. With the acquisition by SAP, they say that they are now selling to at the CxO level. This has opened a lot of new doors and new opportunities.
  • The distribution and replication of data has always been something that Sybase excelled at and replication will be a linchpin technology that will tie together many components going forward. My understanding is that it is already used to “real-time replicate” data from ERP into HANA.
  • The combination of real-time data analysis (e.g. HANA) and mobility is likely to be one of the next killer applications in the enterprise.
  • The rate of change in the mobile space is staggering; having a strategic mobility platform is one way to protect your investment in mobility against this risk.
  • Companies who look at mobilising their data as just another user interface to existing systems are not seeing the big picture and should take the time to consider the opportunity to see mobilizing the enterprise as a paradigm shift in how they use their business systems. Take the “outside-in” rather than the “inside-out” approach.
  • People are passionate about their mobile devices and are very reluctant to be told what device they should use. We will see a big growth in BYO (Bring Your Own) device policies in organisations and this will drive the need for tools and policies to manage corporate and personal information on a single device across a range of different devices.
  • Many of the security challenges faced today in the mobile device landscape have been around since people started using laptops. They are, however, multiplied by the fact that people are more likely to take their mobile device with them and the devices are more likely to be always connected.
  • Offline capability is a key component to useful mobile applications. Depending on always being able to connect is generally not a good idea.
  • We will see the emergence of the enterprise app store, where organisations will be able to invite their people into the store and make their own and third party applications available for download. They will also be able to suggest public apps to use from the consumer app store or marketplace.
  • Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0 adds support for HTML5. Support for Android is expected by early July 2011.
  • Not all devices are “enterprise ready” – Sybase has worked extensively with Samsung to make sure that their Android devices are. The advice was don’t deploy corporate sensitive data onto any device that is not.
  • There are some obvious business cases for mobility (time = money, faster is better), however there are more subtle scenarios. Take for example PIM and EMAIL… what is the business case for that? Yet everyone does it, even though it is potentially hard to quantify. Sybase is working with SAP Value Engineering to build the typical business cases and ROI examples for mobilising the enterprise.
  • You are more likely to notice that you’re missing your phone than your wallet! (Which I guess makes sense since you are probably handling your phone more often than your wallet…)
  • Applications that run on the SYBASE mobility platform will come from three main sources: SAP (target 50 apps by end of 2011), partners and customers.
  • Some interesting things you can do with Afaria:
    •     Disable the camera on the phone while inside secure facilities;
    •     Disable data roaming when travelling to costly destinations; and
    •     Remotely lock and wipe the device as required.
  • Samsung estimates that business sales of tablet devices will grow faster than consumer sales in the next three years!
  • SIM-enabled devices will continue to outnumber non-SIM (Wi-Fi only) devices.
  • Organisations are starting to replace laptops with tablets and many are delaying the refresh of laptops and providing tablets instead.
  •  Mobile payments are becoming very popular (just not in Australia!). The future in this area is Near Field Communication (NFC) – for an example of how this works, see the recent Google Wallet announcement. However you don’t need NFC by any means – there are examples of mobile payments in Austria (PayBox) that predominantly used SMS and are from seven years ago.

I hope that gives you a good feeling for what was covered (at least in the mobility arena).
One last thing I would like to mention is the talk given by Glen and Heather Singleman – husband and wife world record-breaking base jumpers… if you need a bit of inspiration and some “never say die” attitude, check them out here They are absolutely amazing and truly inspiring!

Simon Kemp is national service line lead for user empowerment at PLAUT Australia.


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