Microsoft in the Corporate Environment
Since the dawn of the computer age, I’ve always know Microsoft to be the “business machine” software company meant for work, whereas Apple always had the new design oriented, flashy, and creative machines used for music, video, design and other artistic pursuits. The thing I’ve been struggling with recently is that my perception is starting to change. I see very targeted Microsoft advertisements and products focused solely on great looking touch-screen devices that excel at everything Apple became famous for. This was Apple’s bread and butter, but Microsoft is starting to get it right. Just look at how good the all in one surface studio looks! I honestly wouldn’t be able to recognize this as a Microsoft device if I didn’t already know it was one.
Does Apple compare to this with the iPad Pro? Maybe, but that’s still more of a tablet than a full-fledged design machine ready to run resource intensive 3-D modeling tools. Apple is also still behind the game of the latest home based voice integration devices in my mind. Siri was first into the market for voice integration on the iPhone, but Apple has done little to keep up with the competitors in this space as of late. Amazon’s Echo/Dot and Google’s Home are already top players in the home voice market. Can Apple keep up in this space now that they’re this late to the game?
Apple and SAP partner to evolve the way people work
So while consumers see Apple’s lag in innovation, I ask myself: What is Apple doing while Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook are pouring money into consumer friendly designer products? The Answer: Corporate Integration.
Apple is starting to focus on the corporate world. With their well designed ecosystem of products that integrate seamlessly with each other, Apple looks to be trying to position themselves as the workplace platform.
We can start to see this shift in the partnerships Apple is developing. SAP and Apple announced their partnership just less than a year ago now and are starting to drive this corporate partnership further with the iOS SAP SDK availability and Fiori iOS design guidelines. While still in ramp-up phase, I expect big things to come out of this in the corporate world.
The SAP and Apple partnership should be a big deal. For example, why would SAP pick Apple to partner with now vs. Android or Microsoft who they already have cloud and integration partnerships in place with? The answer: Too many platforms and too many options. The open source platform of Android has had security concerns and too many versions to control to make it a worthwhile option to many. Microsoft’s multiple hardware platforms, integrations, and security options make a platform difficult to deploy and control across all device types in the corporate world. Apple has one platform and one OS to control across all device types. Simple is key to this integration.
Why did SAP decide on Apple?
When talking to an SAP Insider within the Apple partnership program, he states it simply as Apple being an easy yet fairly locked down platform that can be controlled across all devices. The synergies between SAP and Apple and the simplicity/ease of use of working with all of Apple’s products make SAP’s broader usability goals easier to achieve. A lot of corporations already use Apple’s device management software for corporate use of iPhones. Many have added iPads to a lot of the workforce that are casual computer users. A lot of smaller/midsize businesses use iPads in store for customer to search inventory, to check out, and for store manager reporting.
With the market share of SAP in the corporate world, I (as SAP) would want to make the software look as good as possible and as easy to use as possible on my Apple device landscape, hence what I think the value proposition of this partnership really is for SAP.
What does the future hold?
I think we’ll start to see more and more in this space and I’m curious to see if Apple really does go further down the corporate path and/or if they’ll again release new groundbreaking products within the consumer arena like their closest competitors are doing. The future should tell us whether or not Apple will shift into a corporate business machine powerhouse or if they’re happy leaving the Microsofts and IBMs of the world to that space.
At the end of the day, SAP wants to market their software as a very easy to use platform. Anyone who’s been using SAP for more than the last few years know this wasn’t always the case. With Apple’s usability & design credibility and SAP’s corporate business software credibility in their respective marketplaces, it just makes sense for these 2 tech giants to work together.
For more information on how the SAP and Apple partnership is developing (including IOS SAP SDK, design guidelines, SAP Cloud Platform…) please visit: https://www.sap.com/developer/topics/hcp-sdk-for-ios.html
Always happy to hear your thoughts! Do you also see this shift taking place? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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