Apple and IBM -- the new enterprise IT

The Apple/IBM alliance is incredibly well timed...

apple ibm

Apple and IBM have introduced their autumn collection of elegant, contextual and transactional enterprise-class apps designed to bring intelligent intelligence to business in the Big Data age.

Future shock

By combining their skills in enterprise integration, analytics and user interface design, IBM and Apple hope to build solutions for tomorrow's mobile enterprise. It seems to be working.

Some may miss the complexity masked by the seeming simplicity of the app interfaces the partners revealed this week. They'd be stupid to do so, as these are good examples of taking information from multiple sources, contextualizing it and wrapping it inside an accessible and transactional layer.

"An enterprise mobile-first app must offer more than just a pretty graphical user experience. It has to be transactional and deliver new value," writes Maribel Lope for Forbes.

Apple's part in this is just the latest in a long line of evidential pointers that suggest flexible working, BYOD, SaaS, VPN and the development of Big Data systems that pull in information from multiple sources to deliver real-time insights is changing the  enterprise.

Structural change

You see, we're moving rapidly away from silo-based management practice -- it's not appropriate, for example, for the marketing teams to fail to speak with the publicity teams, or for the tech support team to deny insights from customer service. Inter-departmental rivalries must be abandoned; the value of all the data an enterprise gathers must be reconsidered -- shared knowledge pools will replace knowledge silos. This change in the traditional structure of the business is time consuming enough for stakeholders.

This is why it makes so much sense for enterprise to seek systems integration help from outside of their own talent pool while they modernize the nature of their set-up.

Some reports claim that more than 75% of firms intend building 10 or more apps during the next 12 months, but most lack the skills to do so.

Systems integrators

That's where Apple and IBM come in. They already offer solutions for banking, retail, insurance, financial services, telecommunications and government. And they will launch another collection of apps early next year.

In this way, the Apple/IBM alliance is incredibly well timed -- enterprises can approach the partners to find out whether the solutions they offer can be adjusted to match their needs.

“What we’re delivering aims directly at the new quest of business -- smart technologies that unlock new value at the intersection of big data and individual engagement,” said IBM Business Services Vice President Bridget van Kralingen.

IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps are delivered in a secure environment, embedded with analytics and linked to core enterprise processes. The apps can be customized and deployed, managed and upgraded via cloud services from IBM specifically for iOS devices, with security across the data, app and device.

Apple's in the enterprise

Apple's Philip Schiller: "They are apps that are really complete services that IBM can deliver to large corporations and tie into their existing workflow. They're very easy to use, fun and built completely ground-up for mobile, but they're incredibly complex, powerful, tying into their back-end, large data systems for rich intelligent analytics."

The partnership remains a challenge to Microsoft -- though it is clear that company has relationships with both Apple and IBM and can ensure its systems remain part of the loop in the evolving future enterprise.

Be in no doubt -- Apple is now in the enterprise, and, with help from IBM, is at the leading edge of enterprise IT deployment at this time. It comprises another tactical tweak reflective of the complex multichannel strategic approach of Apple CEO, Tim Cook.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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