Apple and SAP to boldly bring iOS into deep enterprise space

6 May 2016

Apple's voyage of discovery into enterprise has taken it into the SAP universe.The two tech giants will create native apps for iPad and iPhone devices

Apple and SAP are to boldly bring iOS where it has never gone before: deep into the ERP enterprise universe, and they are working together to create native iPhone and iPad apps for the SAP HANA cloud platform.

Once upon a time – two decades ago, actually – Apple was in a dark place and it seemed that, before the return of Steve Jobs and the dawn of the iOS era, every previous Apple CEO wanted to turn the company into a kind of IBM, even brushing with the idea of licensing the Mac OS to other OEMs Windows-style to create Mac clones.

Two years ago, it became very clear that companies like IBM now want to be like Apple. And guess what? IBM doesn’t even make PCs anymore!

‘This partnership will transform how iPhone and iPad are used in enterprise’

Apple’s fixation on the lucrative enterprise market in 2016 is vastly different to the dark ages of the mid-’90s, in that Apple now holds winning cards in terms of hardware and operating systems that executives at all levels crave.

Two years ago, Apple and IBM formed a global partnership to enable Apple to seize opportunities in the lucrative enterprise space and see IBM sell iPhones and iPads optimised for enterprise mobility. The first fruits of their labour were big data apps.

Apple voyages into the SAP universe

Now, Apple is stepping up its efforts further to go deeper into the enterprise space with a similar global partnership with German enterprise and cloud giant SAP.

“This partnership will transform how iPhone and iPad are used in enterprise by bringing together the innovation and security of iOS with SAP’s deep expertise in business software,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“As the leader in enterprise software and with 76pc of business transactions touching a SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad.

“Through the new SDK, we’re empowering SAP’s more than 2.5m developers to build powerful native apps that fully leverage SAP HANA cloud platform and tap into the incredible capabilities that only iOS devices can deliver.”

‘In giving people an agile and intuitive business experience, we empower them to know more, care more and do more’

The first step will be to revolutionise the mobile work experience for enterprise customers of all sizes, combining native apps for iPhone and iPad with the SAP HANA cloud platform.

The joint effort will also deliver a new iOS software development kit (SDK) and training academy for SAP’s 2.5m developer community, as well as partners and customers, to build apps specific to business needs.

These native apps will provide access to core data and business processes on SAP S/4HANA, while taking full advantage of iPhone and iPad features like touch ID, location services and notifications.

As a part of the partnership, SAP will develop native iOS apps for critical business operations using Apple’s Swift programming language.

“In giving people an agile and intuitive business experience, we empower them to know more, care more and do more,” said SAP CEO Bill McDermott.

“By combining the powerful capabilities of SAP HANA cloud platform and SAP S/4HANA, together with iOS, the leading and most secure mobile platform for enterprise, we will help deliver live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work. Apple and SAP share a commitment to shaping the future, helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.”

iPad business image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years