In a game-changing announcement timed days before its annual global customer conference, SAP announced a master agreement allowing the purchase of venerable data management and analytics provider Sybase by the SAP America arm of SAP AG in a cash and stock equivalent transaction. Overnight trading on the NYSE had Sybase up over 15% to nearly $65 per share, the purchase price announced by SAP earlier this week.
Read about the announcement on the SAP Marketplace site here.
Having served as a partner over the years with both organizations, several impacts come to mind for both customers and the industry.
In the growing field of consolidation of technology markets, companies either need to be pushing the envelop of new innovations or hitch their wagons to larger organizations to pull them forward. Sybase for years had been “the other database,” a bit of the red-haired bastard stepchild of the database field going back into the 1990s. With the popular acceptance of other flexible data management environments, notably Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase for a time was left blowing in the wind, nothing really new to offer its customers and no real incentive for a suitor. Its push into structural analysis and object-oriented design with tools such as PowerBuilder appeared to bolster a “lost in the mid-market without a direction strategy.” In short many of us in the field elected to suggest other platforms for our clients to use, uncertain of the future of Sybase.
Jump ahead nearly 20 years and the game has changed. In the 2000s Sybase made a big bet in the scalability of mobile applications, and transformed itself from shipwrecked survivor to yachtsman. Through a number of mobilization efforts, particularly concentrated in the growing banking mobility market, Sybase looked to partner with other larger applications. SAP has for years attempted to make its application truly available on a mobile platform. With the pervasiveness of smart phones in the business as well as consumer market, the timing could not have been better to solidify a true platform to build its next generation m-apps.
Oh, and buying Sybase helps to address that “nagging Oracle problem” where the largest competitor of SAP also served as one of its largest data management partners.
The merger represents good news for both SAP and Sybase customers. Sybase customers can sleep a little easier knowing that the long term future of Sybase innovations, particularly its mobilization areas, will be protected under the wing of the largest business application company on the planet. SAP customers won’t have to wait year after year for shoddy mobile application promises and test drives, since the real “juice” for their m-app is already proven out. This should finally put SAP on the “m-app map” as a leader in the delivery of real-time, scalable, secure business transactions across its vast portfolio of business solutions.
For more information see also the Sybase website.