The July 15th announcement by Apple and IBM that they were entering into a partnership for IT services and products for enterprise clients has many implications. The essence of the announcement is that IBM will use its services expertise to develop from the ground up an extensive series of apps specifically for use with Apple iOS based products like the iPhone and iPad.
In addition the partnership will work with specific enterprise clients to build customized apps to make it easier to use these products and to deploy them into enterprise systems. In coverage of the announcement and its significance it has been noted that up to now even though iPhones and iPads (and other Apple products) have been used extensively in enterprise organizations it often has been a difficult IT challenge to manage their deployment and operation.
Since the focus of Apple has always been on the device and their use by individuals often the tools needed for easy deployment and operation in large fleet adoptions have not been available. Apple's world leading hardware support and focus has always been on the consumer where the ability to get assistance and repair has been excellent in most instances. This has led to a very loyal consumer base that continues to accept higher prices and less choice (than in PC based computing) because of these attributes among others.
Any company or individual that has tried to work with Apple devices connecting to higher capacity printers will know that Apple support has not often been very good in this area. In the case of network scanning and connectivity the situation has even been worse. These types of uses are very common in most businesses today; small, medium and large and a potential that may come out of the Apple IBM partnership is that some of these types of issues will be resolved.
It may take time before the true nature of the relationship and the outcomes fully occur but it is reasonable to assume that once enterprise problems get resolved that the apps and solutions will migrate to the broader business market as well.
The extent of use of the Apple iOS devices which was indentified in the Apple release is remarkable. "Apple said that 98% of Fortune 500 companies and 92% of Global 500 firms use iOS devices. " (Source The Apple/IBM partnership is nothing but good news for the enterprise, Tech Republic) This statistic shows how much the consumer market product base has penetrated the usually more structured enterprise environment through the BYOD trend of the last few years.
What might be other implications of this move?
There has to be some impact on other computer and smart technology suppliers who do not bring to the enterprise the level of clout that Apple and IBM combined do. The strong performance of Android based products could be affected over time with this partnership's new focus. Of course Microsoft's attempts to make inroads in the mobile race may also be affected.
In the long run it is possible to see benefits occuring with better integration tools, even more business focused apps and potentially new products from Apple addressing new identified needs.
While the announcement clearly focuses on the relatively small (in numbers of businesses not deployments) numbers of organizations and businesses in the enterprise space the potential it reflects is much bigger and could affect millions of world wide businesses over coming months and years.
Watching how other suppliers and those companies who market products which interface with the iOS mobile tools respond to this initiative will be a telling indicator of how successful the partnership may become. Keep watching. This story is just beginning.
How much does iOS based product impact your operations?
Photo Credit: Apple, IBM logos and trademarks. Wikimedia Commons