The Mobile World Congress should attract 101,000 attendees from over 200 countries and more than 2,200 exhibitors.
The Mobile World Congress should attract 101,000 attendees from over 200 countries and more than 2,200 exhibitors. PHOTO: Mobile World Congress

BARCELONA — SAP has come the massive Mobile World Congress (MWC) here this week to court iOS and SAP cloud platform developers. 

Delivering on a promise that Apple CEO Tim Cook and SAP CEO Bill McDermott made last May, the company is unveiling new tools to transform their customers' digital workplaces and to make it simple for their business partners to do the same.

This is the opportune place and time to do so.

Attendees from 200 Countries

MWC, the world’s largest gathering for the mobile industry, is organized by the GSMA, a trade association representing mobile operators worldwide. The event, which runs here through Thursday, is expected to attract more than 101,000 attendees from over 200 countries and more than 2,200 exhibitors.

Not only is Barcelona considered, by many, to be the mobile capital of the world, but the three themes of this conference — digital empowerment of new generations, professionals and citizens; the digital transformation of industries; and the acceleration of digital innovation through entrepreneurship — fall in line with SAP’s goals.

It’s also worth noting that Apple's only presence around enterprise apps at MWC is in SAP's booth.

For SAP, starting with the end user means putting away old ideas about how its highly successful and widely adopted enterprise applications have been designed. Rather than start at the core and working out toward the end user, the strategy now is to do the opposite.

“We are flipping the strategy,” Richard Knowles, senior vice president and general manager Apple Partnership at SAP SE, told CMSWire.

Empowering Developers

Central to today's announcements is the official opening of the SAP Academy for iOS, which promises to provide developers with the training they need to build scalable, secure and compliant apps that are equally appealing to chief information officers and chief security officers and users who demand consumer-like experiences.

This isn't about making SAP applications accessible via iPads and iPhones — many of which already are. Rather, it is about inspiring the creation of an entirely new breed of enterprise apps that reimagine and simplify the way work gets done. As Knowles said:

"We need to work the way we live. And If enterprises don't offer the means to do so safely and securely, millennial workers will find another way. Take messaging in the workplace for example. Employees can text or use consumer chat apps to communicate with each other, potentially putting enterprise data and information at risk, or they can use enterprise grade communications apps that work in conjunction with their business applications (such as ERP, human resources, sales and such) that provide equal, if not better, contextual experiences."

SAP Academy, More

Take punching in for work, for example. "Why are people using time clocks?" asked Knowles, pointing out that they should be able to use their phones.

The reason is because many of these enabling mobile/cloud enterprise apps have not been built.

That won't be the case for long if SAP executive board member Bernd Leuckert has anything to do with it. He is here this week to inspire iOS app developers and anyone else who wants to build on SAP's Cloud Platform to create user centered mobile and cloud apps.

Leuckert has four big incentives. First the size of the addressable audience — SAP has 345,000 corporate customers, 110,000 cloud users and 15,000 business partners. Second, the size of the developer community: There are 11 million Apple developers and 2.5 million SAP developers. Third, new developer tools built by SAP and Apple engineers. And fourth, the SAP Apple Academy which opens registration today.

The academy, which offers many of its classes for free, provides training in Swift, Apple’s programming language, an introduction to iOS SDK (software development kit) and a class in native mobile app development with SAP Fiori for iOS.

Engineers and instructors from both Apple and SAP have worked together to create the curriculum and mapped a learning journey which can be taken online or at training centers and workshops all over the world.

What is SAP's goal in this? To create generations of developers trained by SAP and excited about its tools which include things like a library of pre-built UX components enabling device capabilities such as Touch ID, location services, notification services and so on.

SAP Cloud Platform Gets Smarter

SAP also announced a name change from SAP HANA Cloud to SAP Cloud Platform. In addition, it added new services to the platform, including a catalog of application programming interfaces (APIs) for SAP applications, a SAP Cloud Platform workflow service that is expected to come available next month, a new release of its IoT service (in beta) that supports streaming analytics and more.

The engineers at SAP are also building apps for industries. The first of which, geared toward professional services, will be available starting March 30. When you consider that professional services pros are typically on-the-go, providing access to real-time data via mobile devices is potentially game-changing.