Almost as a precursor of things to come once the merger of SAP and Sybase is complete, the two companies today showed off enhanced integration between the Sybase mobile computing platform and backend applications from SAP.
One of the challenges with mobile computing in the enterprise is that for the most part the state of the art boils down to using a mobile device to access e-mail. In terms of the potential for mobile computing applications, this is pretty disappointing.
The future of mobile computing will be defined much more by applications running natively on mobile computing devices. IT organizations can choose to build these applications using the tools supplied by the companies that make the mobile computing devices, or they can choose a more platform-neutral approach based on database technology from companies such as Sybase that makes the integration with transactional applications running on backend systems a whole lot richer.
Sybase and SAP are currently highlighting a Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM application and a Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite application running on iPhone, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry devices, with support for Apple iPad and Google Android to come. According to Tony Kueh, Sybase director of mobility product management, what really distinguishes these mobile computing applications is the real-time integration with backend SAP applications.
End users are going to want a seamless experience between the applications running on their mobile computing devices and the applications running throughout the rest of the enterprise. Unfortunately, what we have today is a few random applications that run well on particular mobile computing platforms, and a whole host of enterprise applications that don't integrate well with anything other than a PC. The good news is that this won't be the state-of-the-art for mobile computing applications for very much longer.