SAP and Sybase: Four Questions Behind the Marriage
The VAR Guy's questions include...
When The VAR Guy arrives at SAP’s Sapphire customer conference on May 17, our resident blogger will be armed with plenty of questions about SAP’s proposed $5.8 billion buyout of Sybase. Assuming the SAP-Sybase marriage receives regulatory approval, here are four key business questions facing the SAP-Sybase nuptials.
The VAR Guy’s questions include…
1. Enterprise or Mobile?: Back in the 1990s, plenty of financial services firms and large enterprises leveraged Sybase’s database. But over time, Sybase was squeezed on two sides — Oracle from above and Microsoft SQL Server from below. (Ironically, Microsoft’s SQL Server was built based on an earlier relationship with Sybase…). More recently, MySQL — the open source database now owned by Oracle — has also gained critical mass among customers.
Sybase gradually reinvented itself as a mobile/wireless database provider. Smart move. But can SAP maintain Sybase’s momentum, especially as the mobile world shifts to iPhone, Android and iPad applications?
2. Does Oracle Care?: Some pundits have openly wondered if Oracle will bid for Sybase, simply to force SAP to pay more for Sybase. Frankly, SAP does not have a history of managing big acquisitions. The VAR Guy’s best guess: Oracle will sit on the sidelines and let SAP try to digest Sybase, and Oracle will hope that the SAP-Sybase deal will distract SAP from its core applications focus.
3. Do Channel Partners Care?: Rewind to January 2010. The VAR Guy didn’t think SAP had much of a community or channel following.
That all changed when The VAR Guy attended the SAP Partner Summit in February 2010. At that conference, a healthy number of SAP channel partners described how they continue to invest heavily in SAP applications as well as Business Objects business intelligence opportunities.
By March 2010, The VAR Guy was taking a closer look at SAP’s social networks for developers, customers and cahnnel partners. Our resident blogger was impressed.
Fast forward to the present, and The VAR Guy suspects SAP’s social networks will be a key communication pipeline to promote Sybase into the channel.
4. Emerging Opportunities? What emerging markets can SAP target with Sybase? For the answer keep an eye on the Google I/O conference, which kicks off May 19 in San Francisco. Sybase plans to attend, and you can bet the company plans to take an active role in the Google Apps Marketplace.
Ultimately, The VAR Guy doesn’t view the SAP-Sybase combo as a game changer. And Sybase has never been known as a channel-centric powerhouse.
Still, our resident blogger has underestimated the mobile market multiple times. And The VAR Guy also thinks some pundits are underestimating SAP’s partner program.
Starting May 17, The VAR Guy will hunt for more SAP-Sybase answers at the SAP Sapphire conference in Orlando.