Sybase: Making Mobility Possible

When it comes to smart graphics and ease of use, nothing beats Sybase on iPhone (image: Frank Völkel)
When it comes to smart graphics and ease of use, nothing beats Sybase on iPhone (image: Frank Völkel)

iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia, Android – the range of smartphones on offer is certainly impressive. Sporting various screen sizes and other hardware, each device also runs a different operating system and surfs the Web with a different mobile browser.

SAP’s future plans include offering online/offline applications that run on every mobile device. SAP Business One, for example, currently only runs on iPhone and iPad: Apple’s devices make using the application an experience in itself, offering clear graphical presentation and the ability to access new information and functions with the swipe of a finger.

SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), meanwhile, is also available for mobile use on BlackBerry devices, and many of SAP’s BI offerings – such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, SAP Crystal Dashboard Design (formerly offered under the Xcelsius brand), and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence – run on iPhone, iPad, and Android-based devices. For more details, check out the article “SAP BusinessObjects Takes On Android.”

As SAP announced at SAP TechEd 2010, it is also planning further releases of mobile software. Users will soon be able to manage their business contacts with employee-lookup functions, as well as plan trips and record travel expenses. Sales data from SAP ERP systems will also be accessible – along with SAP StreamWork, the company’s “Facebook for business” – on mobile devices.

Since acquiring Sybase in mid-2010, SAP has offered an even broader palette of mobile applications and platforms. The products support every prominent mobile platform and all of the applications SAP and its partners provide.

This article will present the following Sybase products:

  1. 1. Sybase Afaria
  2. 2. Sybase Unwired Platform
  3. 3. Sybase Mobile Sales
  4. 4. Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite
  5. 5. Software from the Sybase 365 portfolio
An SAP Crystal Presentation Design dashboard on Google’s Android smartphone, Nexus One (image: Timo Elliott)
An SAP Crystal Presentation Design dashboard on Google’s Android smartphone, Nexus One (image: Timo Elliott)
Manage devices on Sybase Unwired Platform (image: Sybase)
Manage devices on Sybase Unwired Platform (image: Sybase)

Sybase Afaria

Sybase Afaria is an IT platform that gives admins a centralized system for managing all of their mobile data and handling the administration and development of their own applications. Whether it’s entering new devices, setting up passwords, or governing users, Sybase Afaria lays the groundwork for smooth mobile software operations.

Sybase Afaria is also particularly practical in how it gives companies the choice of having the platform hosted or running it themselves at their own data center. It’s also open to adjustment, supports integration into any network, and meets industry-wide security standards.

From Apple and Android to Windows and RIM, Sybase Afaria runs on most mobile devices and operating systems, which the platform enables admins to manage and configure. They can also program various applications and establish security guidelines, such as for firewall installation and configuration and port monitoring. In addition, the platform receives incoming patches and security updates and makes it possible to enter inventory data, configure and modify apps, and manage software licenses.

There’s even no longer any reason to panic should you lose your phone: The Sybase Afaria platform also enables admins to perform a full reset whenever necessary while securing users’ data and deactivating the device in question. Meanwhile, regular backups ensure that no information is lost.

Finally, Sybase Afaria is optimized for iOS and now supports MDM protocol under version 4 of Apple’s mobile operating system.

Sybase Unwired Platform

Sybase Unwired Platform is a technological foundation on which admins can quickly and easily develop applications. It facilitates seamless integration of different data sources, such as SAP’s own software, and supports both Windows Mobile and Microsoft’s operating system on laptops and tablet PCs. Sybase Unwired Platform can also run on other mobile operating systems, including iOS 4.2 and BlackBerry OS, and is compatible with mobile plug-ins for Eclipse, Visual Studio, and 4GL. Customers, meanwhile, can use custom-programmed tools to simplify the platform’s UI and make additional modifications.

Now let’s move on to Sybase’s mobile solutions for SAP, which can run on both Sybase Unwired Platform and the SAP NetWeaver technology platform.

Access SAP CRM and other elements of SAP Business Suite from your iPhone
Access SAP CRM and other elements of SAP Business Suite from your iPhone

Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM

The Sybase Mobile Sales application represents a slimmed-down version of SAP CRM for iPhone, offering analytics and management of accounts, contacts, activities, leads, and opportunities. In account management, users can create new accounts, search through them, enter leads for particular accounts, manage opportunities, and update customer data. Meanwhile, the contact management functions in Sybase Mobile Sales make it possible to create, view, search through, and update contact information.

Contacts in Sybase Mobile Sales can also be stored as personal contacts, and the application’s activity management makes it easier to view and search through existing tasks. Users have the additional option of creating a new activity for a particular account and saving phone calls or e-mails as activities, all while on the move. In lead management, they can then view and search through their potential deals, create new leads, and update details. Finally, Sybase Mobile Sales compiles all contacts with whom the user has already established a closer business relationship – through sales pitches, for example – under opportunity management, which facilitates updates and the addition of new line items from mobile devices.

Sybase Mobile Sales requires SAP CRM and the platforms SAP NetWeaver, SAP NetWeaver Mobile, and Sybase Unwired Platform 1.5. To use Sybase Control Center, users also need to have Adobe Flash Player installed and then set up SAP GUI.

The application functions both on- and offline: Whenever a data connection is available, it synchronizes with the SAP CRM installation running at the user’s company, which pushes any more current data to the user’s iPhone.

Sybase also touts the mobile application’s low energy consumption and small footprint on users’ devices.

Kontaktdaten und anstehende Aufgaben auf einen Blick
Contact data and to-do lists at a glance
Rapid generation of graphical charts
Rapid generation of graphical charts

Sybase Mobile Workflow for SAP Business Suite

From entering hours worked and workflow lists to approving travel and vacation, Sybase Mobile Workflow enables users to access select processes in SAP Business Suite, even without logging in when outside of the office. The application runs on iPhone, Nokia Series 60 smartphones, and Windows Mobile devices, and a BlackBerry version is currently in the works. Field sales employees operate Sybase Mobile Workflow through their e-mail inboxes, receiving push notifications of incoming workflow processes.

Serving as the technological basis for the application is SAP NetWeaver, which transmits data from SAP Business Suite to Sybase Unwired Platform and then on to the user’s mobile device. All the while, the servers involved offer the highest possible level of security thanks to internal and external firewalls.

Sybase Mobile Sales and Sybase Mobile Workflow are available for download through this article.

Incorporates contacts and personal data from customer databases
Incorporates contacts and personal data from customer databases

Banking gone mobile: view account statements, make transfers, refill money cards (image: Deutsche Bank AG)
Banking gone mobile: view account statements, make transfers, refill money cards (image: Deutsche Bank AG)

Sybase 365

In addition to these SAP-optimized applications, Sybase has further software in its product portfolio. With mCRM Sybase 365, for example, aids in processing orders and providing after-sales support. Users can also manage digital coupons and vouchers through the EPOS infrastructure. No additional hardware is required, and the software can function without a network connection. mCRM Sybase 365 is optimized for programming environments such as C#.NET for Windows Mobile, Objective C for iPhone, and RIM Java.

Meanwhile, the Sybase mCommerce 365 suite offers the solutions mBanking, mPayments, mTopUp, and mRemittance. In mBanking, users gain the ability to administer accounts, track transactions, manage various cards and PINs, and oversee complaints. mPayments and mTopUp, meanwhile, help bank employees supervise financial investments and makes it possible for cell phone users to recharge their credit at cash machines. The software also aids in paying bills, wiring money, and paying off loans. Finally, mRemittance enables users to issue funds online, manage contact lists, and monitor international money transfers.