Apple and IBM Vie For Enterprise Mobility

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — July 15, 2014

Apple  and IBM have formed an exclusive partnership that teams the strengths of each company , with the intent of transforming enterprise mobility through a new class of business apps—bringing IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone  and iPad.
 
The powerhouse partnership aims to redefine the way work will get done, address key industry mobility challenges and spark true mobile-led business change—grounded in four core capabilities:
 
The new IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions will be built in an exclusive collaboration that draws on the distinct strengths of each company: IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, with the power of more than 100,000 IBM industry and domain consultants and software developers behind it, fused with Apple’s legendary consumer experience,  hardware and software integration and developer platform.
 
The combination will create apps that can transform specific aspects of how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction—faster and easier than ever before.
 
As part of the exclusive IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

451 Research Principal Analyst Chris Marsh commented, “This is big news, no doubt. Even larger enterprises have only deployed a handful, if that, of mobile applications—maybe a mobile CRM or field-force automation application, potentially a customer-facing mobile website or application, or an employee portal. The barriers to more expansive deployments have been significant and more related to infrastructural than just security alone. The bigger news here, therefore, than the number of applications being worked on is the potential for MobileFirst for iOS to become an integrated enterprise mobile infrastructure tightly integrated with mobile hardware, paving the way for enterprises’ own custom development of more mobile applications.”
 
Radical Step
“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”
 
“Mobility—combined with the phenomena of data and cloud—is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” said Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and CEO. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”
 
Partnership Vision
Apple and IBM’s shared vision for this partnership is to put in the hands of business professionals everywhere the unique capabilities of iPads and iPhones with a company’s knowledge, data, analytics and workflows. Specifically, the two companies are working together to deliver the essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions:
 
Mobile solutions that transform business: The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions—a new class of “made-for-business apps” targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others, that will become available starting this fall and into 2015.
 
Mobile platform: The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix—IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.
 
Mobile service and support: AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.
 
Packaged service offerings: IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad, with leasing options.

What Does it Mean
Kathryn Nassberg, Research Analyst for Enterprise Mobility and Connected Devices, VDC called the partnership "a decisive break from the Jobs era," in her blog. She wrote, "The move firmly cements Tim Cook’s vision for Apple as a clear departure from the Jobs era, which saw much of the company’s history defined as a direct rivalry between the two firms, in which Jobs saw IBM as the Goliath to be defeated by his underdog David of a company."
 
In a reversal of roles, from those competitive 80s, Apple is the hardware giant and IBM brings cloud and big data capabilities. She pointed out that the move comes just after Google and Samsung announced their partnership, a trend that is growing in the enterprise space.
 
Nassbeg said, "At the heart of it, VDC sees two non-enterprise focused companies that have made decided enterprise overtures. While Google has made inroads to diminish Apple’s lead, this relationship could propel Apple back towards a considerable lead."

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