Thursday, May 13, 2010

Some thoughts on SAP's acquisition of Sybase

SAP recently announced that they intend to acquire Sybase for cash. Two aspects of the deal is interesting: The valuation of Sybase (a premium of 56% on the listprice) and the fact that mobility was frequently mentioned in the official SAP press. This news triggered many articles and a lot of analysts had something to say about the deal (Read here, here, here and here). The debate ranges from a database war (which is madness with Sybase's small database marketshare), to in-memory analytics and access to clients.

Yet, the concensus of all the articles that I have read is that SAP wants to use this acquisition as a spingboard into mobility. (In the words of Bill McDermott: "companies around the world will be able to run their business from many devices."). This is an ambitious move and would be difficult to execute on, but if successful, could have a major impact on the direction and influence of SAP. The problem here, is the difference between enterprise software and mobility (that is often/mostly) a personal choice. How a company like SAP will branch both (corporates and individuals) will be very tricky. A vision of being able to manage stock as they move and to be able to enter invoices at the point of service delivery is exciting and could lead to a new ERP world.

With relevance to this blog, what will happen to Sybase's mobile banking? My guess is that it will get lost in the noise. The penetration, success and uniqueness (from a technology perspective) is so low, that I do not believe it was at all visible in the acquisition and that it would not feature on any of the SAP plans. I also do not think that mobile banking will feature in strategic drives or sales incentives. It is my opinion that this is the end of the road for Sybase mobile banking.

1 comment:

J Bhattacharya said...

Agree that mobile banking *could* get lost in the integration. However if SAP wants to dig into the banking client base, it should be kept front and center. Particularly as the pressure on US consumer banks continues.