IBM Apple partnership

by Natalie Miller • @natalieatWIS

Apple, IBM partnership promises industry-specific solutions to address enterprise challenges

Published July 24, 2014


It took only a few months of collaboration before IBM and Apple forged a global partnership around the idea of addressing enterprise mobility challenges through industry-specific solutions. Bringing the expertise of the two firms together, IBM and Apple hope to capture opportunity in the mobile space and create a new market in enterprise mobility.

“Most people in the business world today are using mobile devices for basic communications or perhaps for transaction functions, and we think there is a real opportunity to reinvent how work is done in the enterprise in ways that are going to create tremendous new value to the organization in terms of the ability to provide enhanced employee and customer experience,” says Saul Berman, IBM Global Business Services, Center of Competency Leader.

The idea, explains Berman, is to create a series of solutions that will give organizations the ability to be more cost efficient and make better real-time decisions at the point of contact, as well as create new revenue opportunities.

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“We were very excited to hear about the partnership,” says Stephanie L. Trunzo, Chief Creative Officer at PointSource. “For us, we work with a lot of clients who have needs in the enterprise mobility space already, where they are struggling with deployment and hardware.”

The partnership aims to build a new marketplace with more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions, including native apps developed exclusively for Apple iOS devices. These solutions will address challenges in a way that can only be addressed by mobile and that brings the big, enterprise industry knowledge of IBM together with analytics to solve those problems, Berman explains, while using the innovative design and creativity of the iOS system and its devices to empower the employee to make real-time decisions.

“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,” says Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

The enterprise has been slower to adopt mobile devices and broader mission-critical solutions, says Berman. This partnership brings innovation and business knowledge, security, and robustness to these enterprises.

“It’s a great opportunity for both companies, bringing very complimentary skills together,” Berman explains. “I think it’s very exciting for both of us, for our enterprise customers, for our employees, because it’s really bringing capabilities that were very different and come from different places and different mindsets—as I say, ‘Silicone Valley and New York’—or more of the enterprise verses the consumer innovation culture together to really get the best of both. That’s what we are seeking to do here. We believe we are creating a new market.”

Solutions target enterprise pain points
As these mobile solutions are being designed, the goal is to touch four major areas:

  1. Address industry pain points
  2. Bring to bear the power of analytics and the systems of record of the company
  3. Do it in a way that can only be done in mobile—designed in MobileFirst
  4. Empower the employee to make a decision

Industry pain points increase costs and cause customer issues, but many can be solved through mobile—which allows organizations secure, remote access to the information in their computer systems so an intelligent decision can be made.

Every industry can benefit from mobile solutions that streamline business and tailor to customer needs. A claims adjustor no longer has to wait weeks to process incident reports. With mobile, the process becomes instant, from using phone cameras to take pictures of incidents to scanning information directly to a tablet, so adjustors and customers can get immediate responses. Bankers focused on wealth management can now bring a tablet to meetings with high-net-worth clients and be in a better position to talk about investment, give strategies, and tie the conversation directly to client and market records, and all in real-time. Brick-and-mortar retailers can better compete with online retailers through improved customer satisfaction and increased transactions with the ability to assist customers in the store with real-time inventory information at their fingertips.

For airlines, fuel cost is one of the biggest pain points. Additional fuel added to aircrafts to account for potential delays or other precautions costs airlines when the fuel isn’t actually needed. With mobile, pilots can access historical information, analysis synthesis, and calculations, and can better optimize how much fuel they need to get to the destination successfully without carrying extra fuel and incurring the cost of the weight.

Flight attendants also can benefit from mobile. Berman explains that a big pain point for flight attendants is making customers happy when flights are delayed. With mobile, the attendant can have a device that will give them real-time information on flight delays. “They can go onto that device, they can look at their passenger list, they can know who has connections, they can know who’s going to miss their connection, and by tying to the systems of record on their mobile device, they can rebook that passenger at their seat on the plane,” he says.

These are just a few of the MobileFirst solutions that will be designed specifically for iOS devices. This partnership will also give organizations the ability to develop custom apps and apply them to the business. Services also will include transformational consulting to assist with app development, deployment, organization change, business model design, and process change.

In addition, the MobileFirst platform for iOS will include IBM’s security and cloud storage capabilities, as well as back-up sync capability. AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with support and on-site service.

“IBM provides enterprise security today. Now, we’re going to provide that for iOS devices used in the enterprise to do these kinds of mission-critical functionalities,” says Berman. “We believe this robust security capability will enable enterprises to use these kinds of devices in ways they haven’t before.”

For clients of PointSource, an IBM Premier Business Partner, the new partnership between IBM and Apple will resolve ongoing issues. “This partnership is an answer to a lot of the problems that we haven’t been able to solve for our clients,” explains Trunzo, PointSource’s Chief Creative Officer. “I can envision going forward that we could have a solution where we preload an application for them and they actually make the device purchase straight through IBM as well. [This would give] the seamless experience across not just the app development and the cloud services, leveraging Bluemix, but also make it possible to streamline purchasing and support of those devices and the software solutions at the same time as well as the whole way through support in an enterprise level. That’s really huge as a partner to be able to offer that directly out to our clients from the channel.

“One of the things we are really looking forward to is participating in the story,” she continues. “Mobile evolution is interesting not only because of the devices, but also because of the paradigm that has evolved around app stores. I see—and this is something we’ve been talking with IBM about as well—the partnership could evolve around not just the applications that IBM will be producing for the devices, but also bringing in the ecosystem around the marketplace, so the apps that we are developing are also part of that marketplace to preload the devices and be a part of the seamless story that I was talking about. So that’s really exciting for us too.”



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