When the announcement of SAP's intent to acquire Sybase became public on May 12th, not only did the "Twitterverse" light up, a lot of participants in SAP's EcoHub (SAP’s online marketplace for vertical solutions) took notice. SAP has achieved a "critical mass" of mobility partners with wide ranging technologies, industry expertise, and go-to-market strategies within their EcoHub — however, the acquisition of Sybase will inevitably lead to some changes. Many of SAP's partners provide the marketplace with solutions that are very rich in functionality, and are adept at customizing applications for specific business cases; most importantly, many have deep expertise with specific vertical markets, and are focused on "established" mobile application areas such as sales and field force automation, and CRM (workflow oriented applications). These companies are typically midsized, are expanding their geographical footprints, and are in the midst of a growth period.
There are mobility partners in SAP's EcoHub that have a limited number of customers, as they have recently launched their first apps (many of which are still in limited release). This is a group to keep an eye on, as many of these companies are led by industry veterans with deep industry expertise and historic SAP connections. To remain relevant, this group won't be able to rely on long-standing relations with SAP — they will have to possess the ability to deploy innovative applications that are complementary to SAP/Sybase. They must be able to demonstrate that their solutions offer tangible ROI, a positive end-user experience, while solving their markets' mobility needs. Some will struggle to remain relevant if they are unable to get customer traction in the near term — others may see the need to adjust their strategy and offerings to better complement the new SAP/Sybase.
There is major upside for mobile application developers — we are still in an early phases of extending enterprise applications to mobile devices; porting functionally rich, optimized, and customized applications that have been traditionally on desktops to mobile devices is next. Many disparate players are vying to be part of these solutions.
If you are involved in mobile software development and have not participated in our developer survey, please consider contributing to our research (link to survey). If you have a colleague(s) that you feel would be qualified to take our survey we would welcome their participation as well.