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Apple Teams with SAP for iPad and iPhone Enterprise Apps

In its ongoing effort to pursue enterprise markets, Apple announced yesterday that it is teaming up with SAP to develop iPhone and iPad apps for business users. As part of that partnership, the companies also plan to release a new software development kit (SDK) and launch a training academy to promote the building of native iOS apps for enterprises.

Apple launched a similar partnership with IBM in 2014 to develop apps designed specifically for use in key business sectors. Under that MobileFirst partnership, Apple and IBM have released a number of apps for markets ranging from healthcare and travel to banking and energy.

This latest partnership aims to improve mobile work for business customers who already use SAP’s software for enterprise resource planning and operations. SAP currently has over 310,000 customers and 110 million cloud-based subscribers around the world.

Aiming for Consumer-Like App Value

“This collaboration between Apple and SAP will make it much simpler [for users] to consume and leverage your organization’s most critical data on their iPhone and iPad devices,” Steve Lucas, president of enterprise platform and analytics at SAP, wrote yesterday on the company’s SAP HANA blog. “To be able to access that data via a user-friendly app is beyond valuable in the fast-paced world we live in.”

Lucas said the partnership will begin by focusing on “industries where the demand for consumer applications is high and there is immediate value add.” Those include retail, professional services, healthcare and the so-called “asset-intensive industries” like energy, mining, utilities and transit.

The goal is to create business apps that become as widely used and as critically important to users as apps like Uber have quickly become on the consumer side, he said. “The objectives of the partnership are to enable newer, faster ways to perform a task, access data, and do your job,” Lucas wrote. “Coupling SAP’s wealth of data management with Apple’s beloved user experience will enable transformation because life just got a lot easier.”

Expect SDK, Academy Before End of Year

In a statement announcing the partnership, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that 76 percent of business transactions today have some kind of interaction with SAP systems, making SAP “the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad.”

The new SDK will be aimed at SAP’s existing global community of over 2.5 million developers, as will the new SAP Academy for iOS, which will offer tools and training for those developers. Both the SDK and academy are expected to begin operating before the end of the year.

SAP, meanwhile, will work to develop native iOS apps for business using Apple’s Swift programming language. The company also plans to create a new SAP Fiori for iOS design language to enable its existing Fiori experience for business users to integrate with that of the iOS experience for consumers.

The companies envision developing new apps that could, for example, make it easier for a maintenance worker to order parts from the field or for a doctor to update colleagues on the latest condition of a patient.

Image Credit: Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured, left) and SAP CEO Bill McDermott (pictured, right) meet at Apple’s campus in Cupertino to announce a new partnership to revolutionize work on iPhone and iPad. Courtesy of Apple/Roy Zipstein.

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