Data shows time is right for ‘iCloud: Enterprise edition’

With 79 percent of all enterprise mobile activity already taking place on iOS, according to Egnyte research, Apple has an opportunity to create an enterprise edition of iCloud.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iPad, mobile, Egnyte, iCloud, enterprise mobility
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Apple has a huge opportunity to diversify its offer with a range of powerful mobile services aimed at enterprise users — that’s the only logical step it can take on news that almost three-fourths of the work done on mobile in that sector is transacted on iOS devices.

Apple absolutely dominates the mobile enterprise

Based on analysis of over 16PB of customer data covering 6.5 billion customer activities, enterprise collaboration and infrastructure company, Egnyte has found that an astonishing 79 percent of all mobile activity happens on iOS (59 percent on iPhones, 41 percent on iPads).

The research shows growth across every industry — IT, media & entertainment, construction, real estate and financial services are all seeing iOS mobile productivity increasing in excess of 60 percent.

That means more people are using iOS to get things done, and it implies that the number of tasks being conducted using Apple’s mobile operating system has also increased dramatically.

Mac use in the enterprise is so much higher than the 1 or 2 percent it occupied at the beginning of the century, but at c.9 percent there’s still plenty of room for growth. This share could logically increase if Apple ramps up its enterprise services offering.

It is important to note that desktop share is still important — Egnyte’s data shows enterprise mobile activity up 35 percent overall, but desktop is still on the up in the sector.

iCloud for the enterprise

Discussing potential threats to Dropbox (including his own firm), Egnyte CEO Vineet Jain said:

“I maintain [Apple] is a dark horse. If you think about it, 64 percent of Americans each have at least one Apple device, and most of them have a built-in iCloud drive. If Apple were to get serious about going beyond the simple functionality in iCloud and add more things that people are looking for, it could be a substantial threat.”

There’s a significant opportunity here. You see, Egnyte claims that when it comes to actual use, the Surface Pro 4 was the 98th most-used device in the enterprise — but iPhone 7, iPhone 6S, and iPad Air 2 accounted for first, second, and third places in the sector.

Apple’s iPad Pro models accounted for numbers nine and 10.

In fact, Apple devices occupy all ten of the top ten mobile devices enterprise workers use to get things done (though the Google Pixel grabbed eleventh place), Egnyte told me.

It’s important to note that this data isn’t based on market share, but on usage — the implication being that while other platforms may be deployed, they aren’t being used to do anything. Apple already has 850 million iCloud users.

Partnership is wonderful

Apple doesn’t need to compete with the many partners (Jamf, IBM,Cisco and all the others) it is working with to bolster its position in the mobile enterprise to increase the services it has available, but there seems to be some space for enterprise-focused enhancements in its existing services, particularly iCloud.

Egnyte isn’t the only company that sees an opportunity for Apple in this sector.

A research note from Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz said:

“By offering ‘iCloud for Enterprise’ with a higher price point (ie, $14.99-$19.99/month), not only could the paid subscription penetration expand, overall monthly ARPU [average revenue per user] also could increase dramatically.

“Enterprise users normally pay a higher premium for high-value-added features like content management, sharing, collaboration, security, and analytics, which we view as a natural extension of traditional cloud storage.”

What sort of things might make the difference?

Shared cloud-based accounts, project-focused accounts, and more robust APIs could form part of the future for the iCloud-enabled enterprise, as too could useful tools such as business-focused Siri Shortcuts and an extension of Apple’s machine learning technologies into business-focused solutions: “Hey Siri, what’s my customer satisfaction score in Europe?” should be a supported question, given an appropriate back-end provider and CoreML.

Apple doesn’t need to invent enterprise-class solutions in-house. It could purchase an existing player (Dropbox, Box, even Egnyte). Remember Apple did flirt with purchasing Dropbox around 2009, but the deal didn’t take place.

iCloud enterprise edition could provide business users with a highly secure shared productivity and collaboration space that is already amply supported by Apple’s extensive selection of partnerships.

Knowledge workers would then be able to keep their enterprise data separate from personal data, accessing both iCloud sets using Files on their choice of iOS machine (or Mac).

With usage expanding across the sector, Apple has the opportunity, the mindshare, and the industry reach to deliver a solution enterprise users need.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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