IBM Scores Key Mobile Advantage with New SAP Cloud Partnership

C. Dunlap
C. Dunlap

Summary Bullets:

  • IBM has a key advantage in the SAP cloud partnership to further its Bluemix and MobileFirst agendas.
  • MADP vendors will heavily market platforms/tools against the homegrown native development alternative.

Last week, IBM and SAP expanded an existing cloud partnership involving IBM’s cognitive, cloud, and Power Systems offerings and the SAP HANA Business Suite or S/4HANA. The partnership centers around complementary technologies including analytics, cloud, and business apps. Also key to the partnership will be IBM’s ability to further its agenda in broadening its market presence for PaaS and MADP, now targeting SAP’s core business apps customers, particularly at a time when SAP has downplayed its innovation and market strategy pertaining to its own platform and mobile services, sold in the form of SAP Mobile Platform (SMP) and HANA Cloud Platform Mobile Services (HCPms). SAP has made significant effort promoting its Fiori and Splash tools (please see “MWC16: Application Platform Vendors Dominate Internet of Things and Mobile Messaging,” March 2, 2016), but has released minimal updates around its mobile application platform and HCP services.

This is important because, to date, application platform providers have been primarily marketing their evolving platform and mobile services to their own audience of established middleware and infrastructure customers. The SAP partnership represents a significant opening which provides IBM with more direct access to SAP customers with its own heavily marketed and innovative cloud services, including the Bluemix PaaS and MobileFirst portfolio.

The hotly contested mobile application platforms and tools market between leading players’ technologies – including IBM MobileFirst, Adobe Experience Manager (and AEM Mobile), Kony MobileFabric/Visualizer, and Microsoft Azure Mobile Services (including PowerApps and newly acquired Xamarin) – has resulted in serious marketing campaigns, newly consolidated solutions, and increased price pressure causing revamped portfolio packaging and free versions. MADP vendors are laser focused on expanding large enterprise customer wins. Alongside these leading players, interestingly, one of the biggest competitors is the pure native development homegrown stack, made up of Apache Cordova and other open source technologies to enable both front-end and backend mobile app development. This hodgepodge of tools and platforms has been referred to as ‘Frankenstack,’ because the compilation was not designed to work together and is not easily displaced by vendors’ current package of solutions. I’ll be writing more about this growing threat to the MADP vendors and welcome your comments.

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