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SAP and Apple Take the Work Experience to the Next Level

May 6, 2016 by Sam Yen 2719

You have heard me speak about the need to bring design into the business world for quite a while now. I’ve focused on this issue because the consumerization of IT continues as the line between people’s work lives and personal lives blurs every day.

Consumers now expect to move smoothly on their devices from work to play and back again. I firmly believe this change in expectations and the shift in people’s daily lives will redefine what “success” means for business software vendors. They will be assessed on how well they can adopt human-centered design practices and on their ability to deliver more consumer-like experiences through their products and services.

SAP recognized the importance of these shifts and elevated design in the company by formally naming me, its first Chief Design Officer, two years ago. I’ve taken this role with both a sense of responsibility and urgency to make a difference in the industry and help it transform to meet people’s emerging needs.

The announcement yesterday that SAP and Apple have joined forces is a big step forward in championing the user experience for people at work.  In essence, it brings the power of SAP to your Apple mobile device. SAP’s experience in delivering business software in combination with Apple’s award-winning products is a big win for business users and marks the next important milestone in our journey of bringing design to the enterprise.

When we announced SAP Fiori at SAPPHIRE in 2013, it was the first, clear signal of our intent to bring consumer-like qualities of user experience to business solutions.  We have since been the recipient of a Red Dot award for the design concepts of SAP Fiori 2.0, surprising many and changing the perception of SAP’s ability to deliver world-class design

Together with Apple we announced a new SAP Fiori for iOS design language, that extends the SAP Fiori design foundation for a native iOS experience.  We are incredibly excited to have a partner in Apple, a world leader in design, and I am proud of SAP’s head of Global Design, Maricel Cabahug, and her team for making this possible.

We hope this partnership with Apple will lead the industry in reimagining enterprise experiences, which includes the end user experience, the developer experience and the learning experience. Here is what this new partnership means for people in each group:

1. The User Experience

In partnership with Apple, SAP will offer a set of powerful native iOS apps for iPhone and iPad. These new apps for iPhone and iPad will be built with Swift, Apple’s modern, secure and interactive programming language, and will offer a familiar user experience with the SAP Fiori for iOS design language.

This will take the award-winning 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 with a great user experience.

These native apps will provide access to core data and business processes on SAP S/4HANA while taking full advantage of features in iPhone and iPad, like TouchID, Location Services and Notifications to access SAP services. This provides people with enterprise business processes in a way they are used to on their iPhone and iPad. We took a human-centered approach, moving past pure user interface design and even user experience design to designing for the full consumer experience, providing business users the same experience with their business apps as they experience with their consumer apps. Now, doctors, field maintenance workers, retail salespeople and professionals across industries will have access to the power of SAP’s enterprise software with the rich native experience of iPhone and iPad.

2. The Developer Experience

I join everyone at SAP in being incredibly proud of our global developer community, which is 2.5 million strong. The union of SAP and Apple could not reach its full potential without providing this robust and growing community the tools they need to continue their great work and leverage this new partnership. So, in addition to the new iOS applications, we are providing partners and customers a software development kit (SDK) so they can build native apps for iOS powered by the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. These native apps will have full access to our SAP S4/HANA data and business processes with the added benefit of iOS native functionality.

3. The Learning Experience

We are dedicated to giving people the power of knowledge in addition to meeting them where they are in terms of their user experience journey. To that end, we are offering a new SAP Academy for iOS, which will offer training and tools.

I am excited about these developments, but I am even more energized by what they mean for our industry. You may recall our theme at SAP TechEd last year focused on how we intend to enhance and scale the role of design and user experience for enterprise software. Our partnership with Apple is an important step in this effort as we now open up our award-winning design of enterprise software to the vast and talented ecosystem of iOS developers and partners.

Enterprise software must evolve, and software vendors should meet people where they are – whether they are consumers, designers, developers or those who seek to learn relevant skills. We can and should provide people with as seamless an experience as possible as they move through their daily life. This means taking a human-centered approach to design and moving beyond user interface and user experience to consumer experience. We started the journey of incorporating human-centered design into our work at SAP over ten years ago, and the investment, as yesterday’s partnership announcement shows, is paying off.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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1 comment

  1. Indrasanan

    Two major forces joining to make a huge shift . Thrilled and I can’t wait to learn those new tools .

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