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SAP and Apple have announced a partnership with the objective of revolutionizing the way people work on iOS devices. The partnership will see SAP release new native iOS apps that will utilize data stored in popular SAP tools, providing customers with new ways to enable mobile workers. Additionally, a software development kit (SDK) and training resources will be released to empower SAP developers, including all the mobile device management vendors.

Native iOS applications and resources to support developers are set to be released as part of this mutually beneficial partnership

The partnership is mutually beneficial because it will further strengthen the enterprise proposition of iOS devices for organizations invested in the SAP ecosystem, while also enabling SAP to offer secure and manageable iOS applications that can better support the needs of its customers. Additionally, an iOS SDK for SAP HANA will be released that will enable developers to create their own custom business applications. Training resources have also been announced that will help educate customers and SAP developers on the new iOS SDK.

Apple seems to be executing on its plans to make iOS devices more secure and manageable for corporate use within the enterprise. And this should trickle down to the enterprise mobility management (EMM), mobile application management (MAM), and mobile developer ecosystem, in which iOS is a major ingredient of the service management proposition. In many cases, these vendors have to limit features on iOS devices due to its closed application environment. This will not completely solve all features, but now SAP customers will get richer and more integrated features. Other mobile phone OEMs that are looking for more share in the enterprise market need to take note.

The partnership is similar to those Apple has established with IBM and Citrix over recent years, and is further evidence of the vendor strengthening its enterprise proposition for iOS devices. As it has done with IBM, Apple will work with SAP to develop a suite of apps that are more user-friendly, provide deeper integration, and enable improved levels of employee productivity. This native iOS business app suite will be developed to meet the needs of a large section of their customer base across different verticals, including healthcare and manufacturing. This announcement also shows how the need to mobilize SAP apps and business process is critical for customers that want to transform – something that matches what other services providers and customers have been asking of SAP. These apps will leverage capabilities offered by iOS devices and enable organizations to utilize native apps via a secure mobile platform. Ovum would expect Apple to get more aggressive in this area, and to get some response from the vendors supporting Android platforms. And combined with new Windows 10 developments, this seems to take us back to the Apple versus Microsoft software wars of old and the battle for the enterprise desktop. But now the battle is the enterprise workspace.



Adam Holtby, Research Analyst, Enterprise Mobility and Productivity

Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Services

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