Apple Inc. is venturing into the corporate computing world by partnering with SAP to develop apps that run the German company’s vastly used business software on smartphones and tablets. Apple, which historically has remained away from the not-so-glamorous market of enterprise software, has in the past two years set associational partnerships with IBM, Cisco and now SAP that enable this consumer electronics giant to reach a growing audience of business professionals.
The business software of SAP runs inside 87 per cent of the world’s 2,000 biggest companies. SAP said it would work with Apple to build mobile business apps for iPhones and iPads that would run on its HANA database software which represents its biggest platform in two decades. SAP HANA is an in-memory computing appliance that combines its database software with pre-tuned server, networking hardware and storage from one of several SAP hardware partners. It is designed to support transactional processing and real-time analytic. The German major is seeking to attract its huge base of multinational corporate customers to convert their existing packaged software for managing financial planning, human resources, manufacturing and external supply chains to cloud-based software run over the Internet and its HANA database.
SAP is going to release tools so that its 2.5-million member global developers can write their own custom iOS apps using Swift, Apple’s new programming language. This partnership ensures that Apple gets access to SAP’s huge global salesforce to help it sell devices to SAP’s approximately 310,000 worldwide customers, most of whom are big enterprise businesses with workforce in thousands.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook in September last year boasted that Apple’s enterprise business had generated $25 billion, or roughly 14 per cent of the company’s revenue, in the past year.“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,” said Tim Cook in a statement. Apple’s worry of the iPhone sales starting to taper off and also Apple CEO’s plan to boost its lackluster iPad sales can both be solved by the access to an enterprise sales force.
A study by software maker VMware found that two-thirds of corporate enterprises now allow employees to use Apple computers as well as the traditional Microsoft Windows products. The study also showed that Apple is not so much into business computer software and has to do so to remain industry relevant. According to market research firm Gartner, Apple runs its supply chain for managing its global logistics and manufacturing operations on SAP software.
The huge majority of Apple’s revenue continues to pour in from computers, phones and related services which are aimed at consumers. “We’re proud to take this special partnership between Apple and SAP to a groundbreaking new place”, SAP CEO Bill McDermott said in a statement. “In giving people an agile and intuitive business experience, we empower them to know more, care more and do more.”
Apple’s bold move to partner with an enterprise software giant will result in ample future returns and give the mobile phone giant an edge over its competitors.