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SAP and Sybase announce three-pronged strategy

by Scott Priest, Editorial Director

August 19, 2010

SAP and Sybase gave a webcast from Frankfurt and our hometown of Boston today, hoping to explain their strategy going forward. Much of the content was well-speculated or previously announced, but the forum allowed for a single voice of direction to be heard. (They've since released a press release summarizing it.)

The main gist of the presentation was that the two companies were pursuing a three-pronged strategy, innovating in enterprise mobility, analytics, and enterprise information management. 

Mobility is of course no surprise -- you don't shell out billions for a company without considering them a major part of your business, and analytics and EIM are in line with some of the other pieces of emphasis SAP has shown lately (namely BusinessObjects and much of the EPM portfolio). 

Two other points stood out to me.

One was that Sybase will continue to be a separate company. The Sybase CEO, John Chen, said the reason would be to maintain the company culture Sybase has cultivated, but also to continue to serve its own existing customers with the promises it had made to them. I found this point interesting -- is it reflective of the attitude toward SAP in their space?

More likely it was simply related to the fact that they don't have a lot of overlapping customers -- of course, another major reason for the acquisition in the first place. While Sybase's current customers may not be familiar with SAP right now, surely that will change over time thanks to the cross-selling opportunities the acquisition provides.

The second point was that Sybase would help open SAP up to China. Given that China just st epped up as the world's second-largest economy, it's smart to make any kind of inroads you can there. And if a relationship already exists, that certainly helps, when you consider some of the governmental and societal differences in China.

My favorite part of the webcast, though, goes to Chen. Before moving into a demo of Sybase's product, he stated he wouldn't be running the demo because he didn't want to come off like some other CEOs, namely "some guy named Larry", who can't seem to ever make their demos work.

Well played, John.

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