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Interview

Interview: Sanjay Poonen on SAP's Mobile Strategies

I pressed Sanjay on his reasons for wanting to acquire Syclo

Yesterday afternoon, I had the pleasure of spending time on the phone with Sanjay Poonen discussing SAP's intent to acquire Syclo, and other SAP related mobile strategies.  Sanjay's current titles are President and Corporate Office, Technology and Innovation Products, Head of Mobile Division, SAP AG.

Sanjay shared that SAP's ambitions are to turn enterprise mobility into a €1 billion business for SAP.  This will take some work, acquisitions and partnerships.  He called this strategy Mobile 2.0.  He said many of the mobile apps that SAP is getting with the intended acquisition of Syclo can be $50 million businesses on their own.

[This article is based on my personal notes of our discussion, not Sanjay's exact words.]

I said, "In 2010 you acquired Sybase.  In 2012 you announced the intent to acquire Syclo.   How do you see these two mobility vendors fitting together within SAP’s mobility strategy?"

Sanjay responded that SAP wants Syclo primarily for their design environment, mobile apps and app frameworks.  He said Syclo has great business process, and business logic design environments that will be very useful to SAP customers.  He said the point of the acquisition is not to get another mobile platform, as SAP does not need another mobile platform, but to gain mobile apps and app frameworks.

I pressed Sanjay on his reasons for wanting to acquire Syclo.  He said they had looked at everybody, but SAP didn’t need another proprietary mobile platform (SUP will do), they needed enterprise mobility apps and Syclo was the best fit for this need.  They have a large inventory of enterprise mobility apps.

Syclo, however, does not have a flashy HTML5 development environment, so companies requiring those development environments can choose SDKs (software development kits) from SAP partners Sencha, Appcelerator, Adobe and ClickSoftware to name a few.  In Sanjay's press conference a couple of weeks ago, he said the partnership around Sencha, Adobe's PhoneGap and Appcelerator may actually be the most exciting part of SAP's recent announcements.  Sanjay said SAP is happy to be the mobile platform in the middle, as long as partners support SAP's mobility platform, everyone can play nice.

SAP's Sanjay Poonen


Sanjay said he intends to highlight the Sybase 365 products much more than in the past.  Sybase 365 is and will play a big role in mobile banking which is a hot and emerging market.

I asked Sanjay to make a prediction.  I asked him what percentage of new enterprise mobility apps in 2014 will be based on HTML5.  He predicted 35%.  He added by 2015 it will likely be 50%.

I asked Sanjay about the role of ClickSoftware in this developing SAP mobile ecosystem.  He said ClickSoftware has expertise and strengths that offer unique value to SAP users and they are a valuable part of the SAP ecosystem.

More from Sanjay Poonen!!!

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Kevin Benedict, Independent Mobile Industry Analyst, Consultant and SAP Mentor Alumnus

Full Disclosure: I am an independent mobility analyst, consultant and blogger. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is an opinionated futurist, Principal Analyst at the Center for Digital Intelligence™, C4DIGI.com, emerging technologies analyst, and digital transformation and business strategy consultant. In the past 8 years he has taught workshops for large enterprises and government agencies in 18 different countries, and is a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide. He spent nearly 5 years working as a Senior Analyst at Cognizant (CTSH), and 2 years serving in Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work where he wrote many reports, hundreds of articles, interviewed technology experts, and produced videos on the future of digital technologies and their impact on industries. He has written articles published in The Guardian, wrote the Forward to SAP Press' book titled "Mobilizing Your Enterprise with SAP", published over 3,000 articles and was featured as thought leader and digital strategist in the Department of Defense's IQT intelligence journal. Kevin lectures and leads workshops, teaches and consults with companies and government agencies around the world to help develop digital transformation and business strategies. Visit his website at C4DIGI.com.

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