By Daisuke Wakabayashi
Apple Inc. and SAP SE said they would cooperate to help developers create iPad and iPhone apps tapping the German software firm's database services and analytics, the latest move in Apple's push into the corporate world.
The companies said SAP will create a new software-development kit for iOS, Apple's mobile operating system, that can broadly access information from SAP's HANA cloud platform, one of the company's flagship products. The two companies also will collaborate on training academies for SAP developers.
The partnership with SAP is part of Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's strategy to sell more iPads and iPhones to corporations and large organizations. The initiative is especially important following a quarter in which iPhone sales declined for the first time; iPad sales have fallen for nine consecutive quarters.
As part of Apple's push into the business world, it struck partnerships with International Business Machines Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. to make its products work better in traditional corporate environments. Last year, Mr. Cook said revenue from its so-called enterprise business reached $25 billion in the 12 months ended June 2015.
"We clearly see it as a very key growth opportunity," said Mr. Cook in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, while declining to provide an update to those figures. Mr. Cook said the partnership with SAP will be a "starting gun" for the development of workplace apps, similar to the opening of the App Store in 2008.
SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott said the two companies hope to take the vast amounts of data in SAP's systems and provide to a broad base of corporate workers in fast, simple and easy-to-use apps.
There is no revenue sharing in the deal.
The software-development kits will begin rolling out before year-end, the companies said. The kits will allow developers to tap features of Apple hardware such as its TouchID fingerprint sensor.
HANA is a database that allows customers to retrieve information more quickly and analyze it without having to perform time-consuming intermediate operations.
Essentially, the deal aims to make it easier for developers to create Apple apps that can access the important information that sits in many SAP systems, while Apple helps developers building software on SAP systems create more user-friendly apps like the ones many workers are accustomed to using in their non-work lives.
SAP is one of the biggest suppliers of business software. The company says 76% of the world's business transactions go through an SAP system.
John Jackson, an analyst at IDC, said one of the biggest obstacles to companies adopting more mobile devices in the workplace is the difficulty in connecting apps to the information that sits in systems like SAP's.
"It's easy to see the mutual benefit," said Mr. Jackson. "This is a conspicuous missing piece."
Write to Daisuke Wakabayashi at Daisuke.Wakabayashi@wsj.com