Why Syclo fits perfectly into SAPs mobile strategy

In my last blog I wrote about SAPs mobile offerings and the core development plattform offered by SAP. In this blog I would like to share my thoughts on why SAP has bought Syclo and why this fits perfectly well into SAPs mobile strategy.

Syclo provides a great mobile solution for plant maintenance and ISU processes. Between 2003 and 2009 SAP did provide a similar solution – MAM / MAU. It has been one of the biggest SAP investments in mobile products and most of SAPs mobile customers used this solution. Unfortunately clients changed between 50% and 80% of MAM to adapt it to their needs, causing many OSS calls and escalations. I had been part of SAPs Active Global Support for some time and it was sometimes funny, what caused these escalations. Biggest issue was the lack of skilled consultants, but anyway, the need to change most of the code was one of the reasons for SAPs shift to deliver a great plattform, but not the complete mobile solutions any longer. So it was not a big surprise as SAP halted new developments for MAM/MAU as Syclo announced their co-branded solution for enterprise asset management (EAM) and field service late 2009.

While SAP was working hard to make Netweaver Mobile plattform better and for example optimized synchronisation significantly in 2008, they stopped selling MAM in 2009. There is still support for MAM customers until 2015, but since 2008 many SAP partners came along with their own mobile solution. Unfortunately most of them did not really solve the issue of MAM: the need to change 80% of the code to adapt the solution to clients need. If you buy a partner solution today it is not uncommon to recode this solution. SAP sells code of their mobile offerings for a large amount of money and they do this relatively often. Beside this issue another one came along: the need to develop for multiple plattforms. While until 2008 there was basically only one mobile plattform around for PM and CS – Windows Mobile for PDA and Windows for Laptop solutions – today we have iOS, Blackberry, Android and others. One of the companies that solved these issue in a great way is Syclo. Their Agentry plattform allows the easy development of a single mobile solution that is running on all supported devices immediately.

As in 2010 SAP acquired Sybase, Syclo had some work to do. They have their own mobile plattform called Agentry, but SAP now told everybody, their mobile plattform is SUP. So Syclo started the development to integrate the runtime of their products into SUP. While in early 2011 still no real EAM solution on SUP was available and Syclo had nothing to deliver, SAP bought a mobile solution of one of their partners: EAM workorder mobile. It was not as good as Syclos offering, but it was running on SUP and it was simply available. As said above, there had been two issues (80% code rewrite and multiple plattforms) and EAM workorder mobile did not really solve these 2 issues. In fall 2011 Syclo was ready to deliver their first solution running on SUP and this caused some hello in the market.

For the first time it was possible to have a single plattform for development, integration into SAP and test a mobile PM/SD products. The solution runs immediately on all actual supported plattforms and is based on a single code. While MAM project times did last from several months to a few years, Syclo customers report timeframes from initial installation to going live between 3 to 5 months and a first demo can be done in less then 1 week. On top most of the development is hidden behind the development plattform, so even less trained developers can adapt the product to clients needs.

Having this in mind, SAPs acquisition of Syclo is just another step into the right direction: SAP wants to be the leader of mobile solutions in the enterprise market. In the past we have seen 3 main areas for mobility: mobile BI, mobile CRM and mobile BI. While SAP already had great products for mobile BI and mobile CRM, another was missing for mobile EAM. This gap is filled by Syclo. There is now one open question: how does SAP include Syclos development plattform into their SUP landscape. But as we have seen with Netweaver Mobile and SUP, it will take a few years until we really get a solid answer on this. Off course there are rumours around, but we can only say one thing:

In the past we always had a clear migration path and we will have the same in the future. As SAP did introduce Netweaver Mobile 7.1, clients confronted us wih the sentence: it is not possible to run MAM on Netweaver Mobile 7.1 and SAP stopped MAM. This was not true and all of our clients run MAM today on Netweaver Mobile 7.1 without issues. After the acquisition of Sybase, the clients where confused and to be honest, we simply told them to wait for the next SAP standard solution in that area. I did not expect it would take nearly 4 years, but today we have this standard solution with Syclo. Even better, Syclo has an official upgrade path for existing MAM customers available, so at least the backend code will stay stable for most of the solution and it is only the client that needs some new development. Is this really an issue? No, cause actual MAM clients run only in Windows environments, customers want to support iOS or Android devices and shifting to Syclo they can have both with just a single development.

At the end I just want to share one sentence I have read at a Gartner report the other day:

SAPs recommendation to all current MAM customers is to upgrade to Syclo.

This sentence is from 2010, long before SAP did acquire Syclo. At this time we have seen this with some respect, cause itwas unclear if not Oracle would buy Syclo, but today we absolutely agree with this!

Do you have any questions on SAPs mobile strategy or are you confused – please get in touch and lets start a discussion.