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Summary

At Mobile World Congress 2017, SAP announced the release of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS – a toolset that enables developers to create enterprise applications for iOS. Additionally, further details on the SAP Academy for iOS were released. This partnership is mutually beneficial, as it supports SAP's efforts to mobilize important business apps offered by the company and strengthens Apple's enterprise proposition.

The partnership represents a real commitment to enterprise mobility from both SAP and Apple

Although the partnership between Apple and SAP was originally announced in spring 2016, announcements at Mobile World Congress demonstrate how the affiliation between the two companies has advanced. Apple's announcements in recent years of partnerships with the likes of SAP and IBM – big players in the enterprise technology space – demonstrate the company's increased commitment to strengthening its enterprise proposition. iOS devices remain popular among consumers, so there is high demand to be able to utilize them in as optimal a fashion as possible within the workplace. The partnership between SAP and Apple is encouraging because it will provide developers of enterprise systems and applications with tools and expertise that will support them in developing richer, more integrated app features that take advantage of iOS technologies.

Enterprise mobility technologies are advancing in exciting ways

The partnership demonstrates how both companies recognize employees' need to work in a more mobile and empowering fashion. Employees are increasingly demanding new app experiences to help them work more productively. To satisfy these demands, not only do new apps need to be developed, but many business-critical enterprise applications that house vast amounts of important business data also need to be modernized and mobilized. Enterprise mobility strategies are evolving beyond the reactive, focused solely on device management, to become more proactive, where app development and management is a key strategic consideration. Tools such as the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS that can support developers in creating new apps and help organizations deliver against digital transformation objectives will be vitally important. However, organizations should remember that enterprise mobility is about more than just iOS – app development and enterprise mobility strategies must not neglect other operating systems, such as Android and Windows 10, especially in workplaces where a more diverse set of devices is utilized.

The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS will be launched on March 30, 2017. The SDK includes a collection of pre-built components that developers can use when developing new apps. Additionally, iOS device–specific capabilities such as geolocation and touch ID can be leveraged by developers when building apps. A new app called the SAP Project Companion will be released alongside the launch of the SDK. SAP is positing this as a communication and collaboration app aimed at managers and consultants.

Enhancing digital skills with the SAP Academy for iOS

For organizations looking to execute a mobility or broader digital transformation initiative, ensuring that employees are appropriately skilled is vital. The digital skills shortage has been well documented recently, so any development program that can help organizations improve employees' digital skills is encouraging. A digital organization needs to be able to innovate fast and work with increased agility, and app development is a vital element here. Mobile apps can help optimize business processes, transform customer experiences, and provide organizations with new and more productive ways of working, so having employee skills that help support such initiatives, in the context of the needs of the business by which they are employed, is important. The introduction of the SAP Academy for iOS is an intelligent move by SAP and Apple that will help organizations to not only improve employees' digital skills, but also ensure SAP customers can yield maximum benefit from the SAP Cloud Platform SDK. Formalized personal development programs such as the SAP Academy for iOS can also strengthen the personal investment employees have in the SAP ecosystem. Should the learning tracks introduced eventually be supported by formal certification that has relevance across organizations, then this could also prove to be a very important customer retention element.

Appendix

Further reading

2017 Trends to Watch: Enterprise Mobility, IT0021-000212 (November 2016)

2017 ICT Enterprise Insights in Enterprise Mobility, IT0021-000217 (November 2016)

Author

Adam Holtby, Research Analyst, Enterprise Mobility and Productivity

adam.holtby@ovum.com

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