Sybase has only recently formally entered the SAP corporate family. However, the two companies have collaborated on software integration projects for years: hence, the introduction of Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM, a native iPhone app.
When designing the app, Sybase took the iPhone user needs into account, Bryan Whitmarsh, senior product manager in the mobile enterprise solutions division of Sybase, told CRM Buyer.
“We all love our iPhones because of the apps and how easy they are to use,” he said, “so we didn’t want the user experience to be degraded just to secure the device.” Security, on the other hand, was clearly necessary given the enterprise data that the app accesses.
Sybase solved that problem by segregating the ERP data from the personal use apps on the iPhone, Whitmarsh explained. “We secure the application separately.”
For the user, what that means is this: You turn on your iPhone and see all the various icons for apps that have been downloaded, including the one for Sybase Mobile Sales for SAP CRM. You can click on any one and open it with no problem.
For the Sybase app, however, a password is needed. This is a small but important distinction for iPhone users, Whitmarsh maintained, as they are not as tolerant of the security measures necessary for such data as, say, a BlackBerry user might be.
The Sybase for SAP CRM app offers a range of features necessary to a mobile sales professional. The first field that appears is the home screen, which provides a schedule and related contact information, in case an event or call needs to be rescheduled.
A rep who finds two meetings scheduled for the same time slot, for instance, can connect to reschedule one of them by phone or email. The change is then automatically updated on the screen.
The app also harnesses an extensive analytics engine. Users can create custom reports from their phones.
“This capability is huge,” said Whitmarsh. “We can create custom reports from the device if the user wants, or use some of our canned filters.”
For instance, one commonly used — and thus, canned — filter is for the pipeline. Another is for top opportunities.
To customize, the user can add different reports by exporting the necessary data from the SAP system and importing it into Sybase’s middleware, “which adapts the information dynamically,” Whitmarsh said.
“This kind of capability is very important to our users,” he noted. “The more they know about their business, the better off they are, of course. This way, they are always connected to what is happening.”
Sybase uses SAP’s Netweaver technology for the integration functionality, “which is true push,” Whitmarsh said.
That means that the mobile app can notify the user when, for example, a new opportunity has been entered into the SAP system. The phone will vibrate or buzz. When the user clicks on it, it automatically prompts the user to enter the password for the Sybase app.
“You immediately are taken the line item and accompanying data, which is now stored locally on the phone,” said Whitmarsh. “The user is also able to take whatever action he wants — make a call or an email.”