Apple and giant enterprise brand, Deloitte reached an enterprise partnership deal yesterday, another in a series of significant moves that reflect the strong leadership position of iOS in enterprise IT. I hope to have much more on this later, but thought I’d share a few insights into Apple’s enterprise success.
As I’ve noted before, Apple under Tim Cook is dramatically extending its reach. When it comes to the enterprise, the company already has strong and fruitful alliances with IBM, Cisco, SAP, JAMF, and others. These are important partnerships with firms who have already built trust in enterprise IT.
Enterprises choosing to use iOS are happy with the results, at least, according to Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global: “We know that iOS is the best mobile platform for business because we’ve experienced the benefit ourselves, with over 100,000 iOS devices in use by Deloitte’s workforce, running 75 custom apps,” he said. You can see that as a successful real world iOS market test right there.
The ecosystem, stupid
Apple’s iOS isn’t just the OS, it’s also the most compatible and secure mobile OS. The data travels happily between Mac, PC and iOS device and Apple’s clear commitment to annual upgrades and lack of fragmentation – plus its ability to respond fast in the event of a security threat –make the ecosystem attractive.
Provision of strong developer tools and a large and enthusiastic developer community also help. It enables enrterprise to build connected tools for use internally and externally, and opens all kinds of opportnities for new innovations across a score of industries. Just wait to find out how retailers will use indoor mapping solutions and Siri. In future Swift will contribute energy within this space, cutting the cost of deployments dramatically.
At the highest levels C-class execs in enterprise IT recognize that non-fragmented Apple systems work quite well with Windows. They also know that good security policy today encourages IT to shift to multi-platform, heterogeneous networks in the current upgrade cycle. Apple’s products just need to be compatible client devices to Microsoft’s ever more virtual enterprise offering, Azure cloud, servers and virtualization. In the Deloitte deal iOS architects, designers and engineers will be on hand to help build iOS solutions that “integrate seamlessly” with existing systems. Apple already supports highly effective tools for MDM within mixed platforms networks, and has long offered Exchange support.
The next generation of employees is independent, tech-savvy and want to work with the devices and platforms they are used to. They will work long hours in exchange for autonomy, won’t stay in a job they despise and will vote with their feet if they don’t get what they want. These new enterprise employees already choose Apple kit, and given the cost of staff recruitment, training and retention, it behooves enterprise IT to give these valuable people what they want. “The real opportunity for us is expanding how mobile devices are used,” said Apple CEO, Tim Cook. “Many people were living a digital life at home and an analogue life at work.”
BYOD was clear evidence of changing shifts in consumer preferences. Since the launch of the iMac in 1998, Apple’s focus on consumer markets helped it build mindshare that helped create huge success for the iPod and iPhone. These changing consumer preferences led to more demand to use these tools in the workplace, after all – why would you want to use worse tech in the office than you do at home? Ipsos MORI claimed over 91 per cent of US office workers use their personal devices to access, store, share and work on enterprise documents. “When given a mobile device choice, nearly 80 percent of all age groups select iOS compared to just 18 percent who choose Android,” a recent survey claimed.
This brings us to security. Now we know that when it comes to mobile exploits around 4 percent of attacks target iOS in contrast to 74% hitting Android, but we also know Apple can respond to such attacks in days, in contrast to weeks or never on some other platforms. If you work in a regulated industry you need rock solid security and no budget conscious IT chief is going to want to pay extra just to secure a platform. Security awareness is also shifting – as cloud services are becoming more widely deployed security is about protecting the data. That means secure networks, securing data on the journey to and from various endpoints, and (critically) ensuring employees fully understand good security practice. There’s some very clever phish out there. And no rational enterprise will ever permit use of devices that can’t or won’t receive regular security patches.
“Studies show that companies that master digital will not only drive more revenue, but will be 29% more profitable on average,” said Rowan Trollope, Cisco’s SVP GM of IoT and Applications Group. He’s not alone, studies from everyone confirms the need to weave digital processes across enterprise relationships. This is a tidal wave and Apple’s surfing flawlessly upon it. Bloomberg recently said “More than 75 percent of all users are accessing the Bloomberg Professional app on Apple products.”
The proof is in the numbers. Almost every Fortune 500 company is using iOS to some extent. Most recently a 451 Research survey found that among U.S. corporate buyers planning to purchase smartphones in the September quarter, 75% plan to purchase iPhones. Corporate buyers reported a 94% satisfaction rate for iPad in as of last June, Apple has claimed. This is not flash in the pan but a sustained trend – in 2014 97% of Fortune 500 companies were using iPhones in some capacity.
The conclusion? Apple is in the enterprise and even if you don’t like it you’re going to have to get used to it.
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