The recent unprecedented partnership announcement between SAP and Apple is just the latest in a string of game-changing partnerships and mergers in the tech industry.
Driven by the relentless pace of innovation, the technology sector is only one of numerous industries that are moving quickly to ensure they stay relevant.
For example, leading healthcare companies are partnering with technology goliaths like Google to create life-changing innovations that will transform our world, such as surgical robots for non-invasive surgery. Industries ranging from automotive and academia to insurance, banking, and beyond are feeling the impact of digital disruption, competing through new digital ecosystems, and responding in ways that will reinvent how we live and work.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest key technology partnerships.
1. Apple and SAP
The recently announced SAP and Apple partnership is a revolutionary breakthrough for business. It will combine native apps for iPhone and iPad with the enterprise capabilities of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. It allows developers, partners, and customers to build iOS apps tailored to their business needs in order to manage critical business operations.
The business capabilities for apps enabled by this partnership are endless. Imagine having a virtual assistant who not only responds to your requests, but also proactively reaches out to let you know when there are situations you need to be aware of. In fact, some of the first apps will contain functionality, referred to as co-pilot, which is touted as the first true digital assistant in the enterprise.
Here’s an example of how co-pilot functionality works. A machine in the production line is overheating. A sensor flags the issue to the inspector bot and to your app. The app with co-pilot functionality notifies you – in natural human language via text, action, or voice – and provides relevant information on the issue and suggestions on the best course of action to take. The app monitors the situation and helps you to quickly solve the problem by facilitating the proper service procedures and ensuring that you are kept abreast of the resolution. Importantly, the app will learn from behavioral data to improve its recommended actions in the future.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO stated, “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. As the leader in enterprise software and with 76 percent of business transactions touching an SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad.”
2. Cisco and Ericsson
“In a world driven by mobility, cloud, and digitalization, the networks of the future will require new design principles to ensure they are agile, autonomous, and highly secure.” So said technology giants Cisco and Ericsson when they announced a sweeping strategic partnership to create the “networks of the future.”
The multifaceted partnership touches virtually all aspects of both companies, from sharing patents and intellectual property rights to joint development and creation of new products to collaborating on global services capabilities including consulting, integration, and support.
Together, the companies plan to offer the best of both companies – routing, data center, networking, cloud, mobility, management and control, and services – across network architectures from devices and sensors to access and core networks to the enterprise IT cloud.
Cisco and Ericsson are dramatically reinventing themselves to meet the realities of the digital economy, and enabling their customers to accelerate their own business transformations. By delivering an end-to-end product and services portfolio and joint innovation, they plan to provide the mobile enterprise experience of the future and speed the platforms and services needed to digitize countries and create the Internet of Things ecosystem.
Customers will not be the only beneficiaries of this partnership. The companies expect an incremental revenue opportunity of $1 billion or more for each company by calendar year 2018. Plus, in February 2016, the partners expanded their agreement to include Intel and Verizon, with the goal to develop a 5G router for business and residential service, and accelerate 5G innovations. (Apple, Nokia, and Qualcomm are also members of a Verizon-led initiative to develop and test 5G wireless technologies.)
Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins commented on the need for partnerships these days, saying, “In today’s fast-paced world, next-generation strategic partnerships allow us to innovate and move with greater speed.”
3. Dell and EMC
This is a merger as opposed to a partnership. But I had to mention it because it is one of the largest tech mergers to date, and it will have a widespread impact on the IT industry and beyond.
At the EMC World event this month, Dell Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell, said the merger will create a next-breed technology company that strategically covers the “customers’ entire infrastructure, from hardware to software services, from the edge to the core to the cloud.”
The $67 billion Dell and EMC deal also directly involves several well-known companies that they refer to as the ‘family of companies’ currently owned by one of the two tech giants, including VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks, RSA, and Virtustream. The merger still has some hurdles to cross, but if it closes as expected by October, the combined company will have close to 170,000 employees.
The Ripple Effect Across Industries
These significant deals are part of a larger global trend of partnerships, alliances, and consolidations. The impact of some of these major technology partnerships and mergers is expected to cause a ripple effect across multiple sectors and the global business landscape.
This is only the beginning; I’m eager to see where these technology partnerships can take us.
- Learn more about the Apple and SAP partnership to revolutionize work on iPhone and iPad.
- For an in-depth look at how technology is changing the business landscape, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.
- To learn more about the multiple factors driving digital transformation, download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.
- Discover how the Mobile Industry is Now Simpler Then Ever.
Kevin Ichhpurani is executive vice president of Strategic Business Development at SAP.