Apple and SAP Team on Mobile Apps to “Revolutionize” the Work Experience

The initiative will combine native apps for iPhone and iPad with the SAP HANA platform.

(Apple CEO Tim Cook and SAP CEO Bill McDermott meet at Apple’s campus to announce the partnership. Credit: Apple/Roy Zipstein.)

Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) and SAP (Walldorf, Germany) have announced a partnership to create mobile apps for business. The companies characterize the partnership as an endeavor aimed at revolutionizing the mobile work experience for enterprise customers of all sizes by combining native apps for iPhone and iPad with the SAP HANA platform.

The initiative will also include delivery of deliver a new iOS software development kit (SDK) and training academy aimed at enabling developers, partners and customers to easily build native iOS apps tailored to their business needs.

Transforming How Businesses Are Run

“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,” comments Tim Cook, CEO, Apple. “As the leader in enterprise software and with 76 percent of business transactions touching an 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 2.5 million 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.”

SAP CEO Bill McDermott characterizes the initiative as taking an existing partnership between Apple and SAP to a “groundbreaking new place.”

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

The companies plan to deliver a new SAP HANA Cloud Platform SDK exclusively for iOS that will provide businesses, designers and developers the tools to quickly and efficiently build their own iOS apps for iPhone and iPad, based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP’s open platform-as-a-service. 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, according to an SAP statement.

A new SAP Fiori for iOS design language will take the SAP Fiori user experience to the next level by combining it with a consumer-grade iOS experience to deliver on the robust user needs in the enterprise and enable developers to build next-generation apps, the SAP statement asserts. To help SAP’s 2.5-million member global developer community take full advantage of the new SDK and Apple’s hardware and software, a new SAP Academy for iOS will offer tools and training. The new SDK, design language and academy will begin rolling out before the end of the year.

Apps for Critical Business Operations

As a part of the partnership, SAP will develop native iOS apps for critical business operations. These apps for iPhone and iPad will be built with Apple’s Swift programming language, and will offer a familiar user experience with the SAP Fiori for iOS design language. Workers across industries will be able to access critical enterprise data, processes and user experience they need to make decisions and take action right from their iPhone or iPad through apps designed to enable a field maintenance worker to order parts or schedule service, or a doctor to share the latest patient data with other healthcare professionals, according to SAP.

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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