SAP SE plans to roll out about 100 enterprise applications using the new software development kit it’s building with Apple Inc. Some will be industry-specific, addressing fields such as health care and retail, while others will be more general, Steve Lucas, SAP’s president for platform solutions, tells CIO Journal. All of the applications will be available on Apple’s App Store, and at least some of them will be free. The first applications will be available later this year. One application, called Copilot, will allow corporate users to connect to SAP systems across different lines of business, Mr. Lucas said. He expects it to be one of the more widely used applications in part because it’s not geared toward a specific industry.
The apps are part of SAP’s recent announcement that it is creating a new software development kit for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, that can access information from SAP’s HANA cloud platform. The two companies are also working on education initiatives for SAP developers. The partnership with SAP also pushes Apple, which last week said iPhone sales declined last quarter, farther into the enterprise. In recent years it has struck deals with International Business Machines Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and others to sell more devices and improve how its products work inside corporate IT environments.
“SAP gives Apple traction within the enterprise because they have a lot of enterprise customers, and Apple has pretty much saturated the consumer market and needs to expand,” Gartner Inc. analyst Jason Wong said. The partnership will grow across three tiers, Mr. Lucas said. The first is the 100 applications built by SAP. The second includes apps built and distributed by SAP’s strategic partners such as consulting and IT services firms. Additionally, individual iOS or SAP developers may use the SDK to create applications of their own. “The number of applications being built using this SDK by our ecosystem will dwarf the 100 apps that we’re delivering,” Mr. Lucas said.
Chief information officers say the move could speed up their ability to deliver mobile business applications to customers and internal users. Americas’ SAP Users’ Group member Kevin Reilly tells that when he was CIO at Eby-Brown Co., IT teams were already creating applications to run on iPads that allowed employees to take orders in the field and feed them into SAP systems for fulfillment. “It’s not as if we were all standing around waiting for this to happen,” he said.