There SAP goes again: Making vague promises in the guise of major strategy. Today, SAP once again laid out a strategic vision for the stagnant ERP firm, this time pronouncing on how its recent acquisition of Sybase will lead to -- wait for it! -- mobile-enabling SAP's application suite.
That is why SAP paid $5.6 billion for Sybase in the first place, of course. So tell me something I don't already know.
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SAP is famous for big promises, but also for not delivering on them. It's been four years, for example, since SAP promised to bring ERP to small businesses, but we're still waiting. (Or maybe not -- the truth may be that ERP isn't needed by small businesses, at least not SAP's budget-sucking variety.) And it's SOA/Web services platform never really materialized, but instead became just another middleware platform (Netweaver).
The current mobile promise is equally grandiose as the original small business and SOA promises, and so could easily peter out as they did:
The companies will bring together technologies to deliver a mobile platform that is based on open standards, deployable on premise or on demand, integrates with all applications, runs on all major mobile operating systems and manages and supports all major device types. With this platform SAP, Sybase, and partners will develop and deliver new mobile-enabled business applications that drives additional value to SAP customers.
At its core, that sounds like a simple task to me: Simply cloud-enable your apps and present them in a mobile-friendly skin, using well-known technologies such as AJAX and dynamic HTML. After all, turning a smartphone or slate into a pane of glass for Web- and cloud-delivered apps is just a variation on the old Web services trick. It's table stakes today.