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Exclusive Q&A with Senthil Krishnapillai of Sybase iAnywhere
Sybase's Mission to Mobilize the Enterprise is Moving Full Speed Ahead
By: Jeremy Geelan
Mar. 24, 2009 01:45 PM
In this Exclusive Q&A with SYS-CON's Jeremy Geelan, Senthil Krishnapillai - Sybase iAnywhere's Director of Product Management - talks about the mobile email market and Sybase iAnywhere's most recent announcements regarding Mobile Office and the iPhone 3.0.
Jeremy Geelan: Starting at 35,000 feet first: what's the overall state of enterprise-class email, on mobile devices? How fast is the sector growing?
From Sybase's perspective, the mobile email market has certainly matured. Enterprises now expect a fully functional comprehensive email and PIM solution. Users expect to be able to do everything on a mobile device like they do on a PC. The challenge is to support this level of service for all types of mobile devices that are in the market. It's important for enterprises to look for solution that supports a wide range of mobile devices, including emerging devices (iPhone, Android, etc.).
Krishnapillai: We do not expect IM to replace email because they serve different needs for end users. Email is the new "formal" communication while IM is predominantly used for quick, instant chats. Since IM requires a person to be "online" - and email doesn't require that - it allows users to work and respond at their own pace, not making them reliant or interrupted by other users.
Geelan: So sensitive data on a mobile device can be encrypted?
With this release, iAnywhere Mobile Office provides iPhone users with email, calendar, tasks, and contacts with Corporate Directory lookup. In addition, it enables configurable application password protection and provides on-device encryption for all enterprise data contained within the iAnywhere Mobile Office application on an iPhone.
There are some exciting new features that Apple announced in 3.0 that we find very interesting - especially the push capabilities which will add more value to enterprise applications, including email, by providing always-on access to enterprise data.
Geelan: Tell us more about iAnywhere Mobile Office - what briefly is the history of that product and what's its current trajectory?
Krishnapillai: iAnywhere Mobile Office has traditionally been a solution that allows enterprises to enable wireless email and PIM applications on a wide range of mobile devices. We have been providing enterprise customers with this type of solution for more than 10 years. With the maturity of the wireless networks and the enhanced capabilities of today's mobile devices, Sybase has expanded our support to enable a collaborative environment for mobile workers. Sybase is working to extend the familiar email paradigm to broader collaboration by providing a converged experience of voice, data and business processes.
Beyond email, iAnywhere Mobile Office also mobilizes other functions that a typical mobile worker needs-such as enabling users to take action and complete business processes from a mobile device (example-approve a PO or work order from a Windows Mobile device vs. waiting to login to a PC).
Geelan: And what does iAnywhere see as the future trajectory of enterprise adoption of the iPhone? It is coming from top-down, or bottom-up?
Krishnapillai: As a consumer device, the iPhone is infiltrating the enterprise from a variety of fronts - including from the average employee to the CXOs. Much like laptops and BlackBerry devices, IT tends to be more responsive when senior management and executives are asking for access from and support for a new device. As enterprises begin to roll out support for the iPhone, we expect that IT organizations may start rethinking their broader mobility strategy and policies, including the ability of employees to use personal devices, like the iPhone, to access corporate information.
Krishnapillai: Sybase is confident in our solutions that are in the market today - including secure email, mobilized business processes and seamless access to enterprise systems - on a wide variety of mobile devices. Our latest version supports all of this functionality on Windows Mobile and Symbian devices. For the iPhone, we support secure email and PIM data today; we will support mobilized business processes on the iPhone in the future.
Geelan: What kind of metrics can you use at Sybase iAnywhere to guide your efforts? Is number of customers the only thing that matters or are there others?
Geelan: Is it important to Sybase what analysts say in terms of characterizing your market position? How are you doing in that regard?
Geelan: What's the biggest still unresolved challenge with regard to mobile collaboration?
Krishnapillai: One of the biggest challenges is the emerging convergence of voice and data on a mobile device. This challenge is important not only to vendors like Sybase but also to enterprise customers that are looking to control costs of mobile deployments.
Geelan: I know you are speaking at SYS-CON's iPhone Developer Summit in NYC in June, an event largely focused on iPhone for the Mobile Enterprise. What lies behind your choice of title for your session, which is by the sound of it a clear call to action: "Break the Mold" - who should break the mold, and in what way?
Krishnapillai: The introduction of the iPhone has encouraged companies to rethink their current mobility strategy and expand their horizons to look at the iPhone as a viable option for their users. The title-Break the Mold-is really meant to encourage enterprises to think outside of the box and look at new technologies like the iPhone. With the addition of our software, the iPhone becomes a serious contender in the enterprise. The enterprise sandbox idea that we discussed earlier is one of the topics that we'll be highlighting in our talk - focused on how enterprises can adopt the iPhone without impacting the personal use of the device.
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