SAP, long known as an enterprise applications company, has set its ambitions on becoming a major player in database, data management and middleware software markets by leveraging its Sybase and HANA technologies.
The company is also accelerating its push into mobile computing, acquiring a supplier of mobile asset management software, and working with Adobe, Appcelerator and Sencha to create a mobile apps development framework.
The technology roadmap outlined by SAP executives Tuesday will put SAP in more direct competition with Oracle – already SAP's chief rival in applications – as well as IBM and Microsoft in the database and data management arena.
"We have now, in our hands, the capability to be the fastest growing database company in the world," said Vishal Sikka, SAP executive board member, technology and innovation, at a press conference in San Francisco.
HANA (for high-performance analytical appliance), which SAP launched in December 2010, is the company's in-memory database system that Sikka said would serve as the core component of its real-time data management strategy. Sybase ASE is the relational database SAP acquired when it bought Sybase in 2010.
Tuesday SAP announced that its flagship Business Suite applications now run on Sybase ASE, providing customers with an alternative to other relational databases such as Oracle and IBM DB2. HANA, meanwhile, is being offered to add real-time reporting capabilities to the mix.
Poised to take on the competition
SAP also announced the general availability of a release of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, powered by HANA. SAP unveiled its HANA-Business Warehouse plans in November.
SAP's goal is to get customers to use HANA and Sybase ASE as platforms for SAP applications rather than database software from other competitors – especially Oracle. Last month the Jefferies equity research firm put out a report that said SAP's efforts, especially with HANA, pose a competitive threat to Oracle's flagship relational database software.
SAP also said Tuesday that it is launching a $US337 million "SAP HANA Adoption Program" to help new customers transition to HANA from what SAP called "legacy databases." SAP is also creating a $155 million fund, to be managed by SAP's venture capital arm, to help ISVs and startups develop real-time applications that run on HANA.
On the mobile computing side, SAP is acquiring Syclo, a developer of mobile asset management and field service applications. The move will boost SAP's mobile software product line, especially for customers in utilities, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries.
Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. SAP expects to complete the acquisition in the current quarter with Syclo becoming part of the SAP mobile solution portfolio.
Under the agreements with Adobe, Appcelerator and Sencha, SAP and those vendors will create an "open mobile apps development framework" for building mobile applications that support SAP's mobile computing platform. The effort includes Adobe's PhoneGap Web app runtime environment, Appcelerator's Titanium eclipse-based development platform, and Sencha's Touch HTML5 mobile application framework.