When SAP announced its intent to acquire Sybase in May, I assumed that Sybase's mobile banking and high-speed analytics technologies were the crown jewels the German business software giant was after. A conversation this afternoon with Raj Nathan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, worldwide marketing and business solutions operations at Sybase and Sethu M, senior vice president, strategy and products, business analytics technologies at SAP Labs, confirmed that assumption and also provided a look at the combined company's roadmap for banking technology.
At the heart of what the two companies want to offer banks in the future is cross-channel integration: mobile banking integrated with online banking and core banking, and analytics that reflect customer behavior across all the retail channels (except ATMs).
Sybase 365 has long offered online and mobile banking software. SAP provides back-office processing software for banks (SAP for Banking; HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered are among its users) as well as analytics tools for corporate performance, compliance, risk management and such and the enterprise resource management software it is well known for. Together, "We can provide an integrated stack of e-banking, core banking and m-banking," says Nathan. The mobile banking software supports all platforms including tablets, iPads, iPhone, BlackBerries and Android devices, and interfaces that range in richness from simple text messages to interactive loan applications. Sybase 365 also runs its own global IP network, which could be useful for banks that want to offer mobile services in other countries without having to negotiate with multiple telecom operators, Nathan says. Two extremely large U.S. banks are clients of both SAP and Sybase and are working on such an integrated stack, Nathan and M say.
Nathan speaks of a goal of extending mobile banking to what he calls MCRM, the ability to send targeted marketing messages to individual customers based on their overall bank relationship, as well as m-commerce, providing mobile wallets for consumers through which they could make various payments. After that, banks could get into developing analytics about customer behavior patterns across online and mobile banking.
M also sees a place for the kind of ultra-high-speed real-time analytics used in trading — in some cases referred to as complex event processing — in traditional banks to monitor bank transactions, operations and risk.
SAP and Sybase offer hosted versions of their offerings that can be integrated with in-house software, the two executives say.