Apple and SAP innovate together – What happened to the web strategy? What’s next?
By now it is old news, that SAP is teaming up with Apple in a partnership in order to revolutionize the mobile work experience for enterprise customers. What this means is that SAP is relaunching their award winning Fiori experience for web apps as a tailored native experience for iOS. By the end of this year, they plan to launch a native SDK that will provide iOS developers with easy integration to HANA Cloud Platform and new easy to use UI components that comply with the new SAP Fiori for iOS design language.
In my post after UI5Con in Frankfurt I concluded that after a decade of ever changing technology SAP UI5 gave a clear path for the future SAP frontend… So how did this happen?
Besides the obvious competition from IBM’s Mobile First platform and enterprise iOS apps, there is still a debate about whether or not to go for native or hybrid apps in companies. Some places they even have a strict Apple device policy, so why should you in these cases choose hybrid? Also among my colleagues, there are strong advocates for the better user experience and smoothness you can give users by going native. We are however many who remember SAP’s previous native endeavours with the productivity apps for iOS that failed due to the lack of customization options, functionality and device support. In this perspective “going native” could seem like a step backwards. An obvious follow-on question is when we will see native Fiori for Android and Windows?
All things considered it is important to remember that SAP has invested heavily in web and has at present time created more than 800 Fiori web applications that work on all device platforms. They have also not announced any major changes to the HCP platform or backend integration technology. I therefore do not see “SAP Fiori for iOS” as a radical change to SAP’s overall strategy. Even though the new SDK might cause some confusion in the SAP world, I believe that it should be seen as a complimenting new flavour to the original SAP Fiori concept. The iOS SDK is thereby intended for those cases where creating the smoothest experience outweighs the agility of the web. I am personally excited by this new development from SAP as my toolbox as a developer and designer has just been expanded. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the new SDK and discovering how to use it to create great mobile experiences.