Sybase Analyst Day at New York Stock Exchange—One Reporter's View

Coming off a record quarter as well as reporting 2008 revenues and operating income that reached all-time highs, it wasn't surprising that it was a packed house of analysts attending the by-invitation-only proceedings at Sybase Analyst Day on May 13. With the hum of another "up" day taking place on the ground-floor trading level of the New York Stock Exchange at 11 Wall Street, Dr. Raj Nathan, Sybase senior vice president and chief marketing officer, gave the keynote address. In a wide-ranging overview of the company's strategic direction and product offerings, which defined the company's "standard of success" for the future, Nathan laid out a future direction for the company that is unique in its focus on both strength in analytics and core participation in the mobility market-building on the capabilities already successfully put into place. Nathan mapped out the Sybase view of the Unwired Enterprise and strategy of integrating information sourced "from any data source, any server platform and any application," transformed through analytics into actionable information, then pushed out to any person, anywhere and always available.

The company reported its financial performance with evident pride, but reserved particular emphasis for its highest-ever rating of 96% on its customer support satisfaction. Mapping a future dominated by service to information workers and increasingly the consumer, Nathan presented a clear connection between the needs of consumers in collaboration, analytics and mobility, and the shape of IT in the months and years immediately ahead.

Recent product successes were also highlighted, including the highly successful launch of Sybase RAP, the "unified market analytics platform that lets capital markets firms make more intelligent, efficient use of data for better analytics, decisions and reporting across the front-to-back office trade lifecycle." Data management experienced a 30% growth curve in 2008, led by the recognition of Sybase as the leading column-based server leader in analytics by leading IT analysts. The roadmap for the future of Sybase 365 concluded the keynote session and this provided a snapshot into the integration of Sybase's traditional information management and analytics business, with a wireless future identified by leadership in operator services, enterprise messaging and mCommerce in the rapidly emerging mobility market globally.

Breakout sessions followed during the afternoon, then a Q&A session with John Chen, Sybase's chairman, CEO and president. While the questions to Chen filled the time allotted, the tenor of the analyst and media cross-examination appeared muted by the company's vision, execution and superb financial performance. And in response to 5 Minute Briefing's question about the alignment of Sybase's information management and mobile initiatives from a customer standpoint, Nathan provided a lucid and straight-forward connection: that alignment will be based on synchronization of data between central applications and remote devices, with data moving in both directions-most evident today in remotely entered data driven back to a centralized database and application, but with a clear eye on an increasing level of data pushing out from centralized sources and then residing on mobile devices.