Apple estimates that 98 percent of companies have employees who use their personal iOS devices at work. Even so, Apple has faced a long, uphill battle to gain traction when it comes to enterprise computing. That may be about to change with the announcement of a deal earlier this week between Apple and IBM that promises the creation of "a new class of business apps — bringing IBM's big data and analytics capabilities to iPhone and iPad."
The two companies plan to create more than 100 mobile apps for a wide variety of industries including retail. The first of those apps will launch in the fall when Apple releases iOS 8.
As to where the companies might be headed with these new apps remains unclear, but a piece on the InformationWeek site suggests the answer may be on the IBM Cloud Marketplace. The article points to IBM Concert and IBM Project Catalyst as apps, which seem particularly relevant to Apple/IBM partnership. Concert is budgeting, planning and forecasting app used by workers in finance, sales, marketing. Catalyst enables workers to upload and crunch data. According to the article, Concert "automatically finds correlations and trends, suggesting data visualizations as well as descriptions, in English, of what stands out in the data."
As part of the deal, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads to its business customers and also provide on-site AppleCare support for Apple devices. Apple will provide 24/7 phone support for enterprise users.
"We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can't imagine living without," said Ginni Rometty, IBM chairman, president and CEO, in a statement. "Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform."
How likely is the Apple and IBM working relationship to shake up enterprise computing?