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IBM-Apple: What it Means to You

by Ken Murphy, Senior Features Editor

September 15, 2014

In the first fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple sold 77 million iPhones and iPads. That’s about two devices for every person in California, the most populous U.S. state. Clearly, mobile devices are entrenched in the lives of the consumer, influencing everything from how we communicate to how we shop to how we consume information. The enterprise may have taken a bit longer to appreciate how the convenience of mobility could positively impact the business, but one firm indication that the enterprise has caught up to the consumer is the recent announcement of a partnership between IBM and Apple to package IBM-backed enterprise mobility applications and services for iOS devices.

A joint press release earlier this summer highlighted the specifics of the partnership; 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions, including native apps, developed exclusively for iPhone and iPad, and IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics, and mobile integration. The ambition behind the partnership is no less than to “redefine the way work will get done,” according to statements from the company CEOs, who point out that nearly all Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies are already using iOS devices in the enterprise today.

 What, then, does this portend for the SAP customer, especially in light of the flurry of activity from SAP in the mobile space, including the SAPUI5 development toolkit and the robust set of SAP Fiori applications? Well the good news, according to IBM representatives, the IBM-Apple partnership can complement an SAP customer’s mobile journey, especially one that may be dabbling in mobility with a handful of apps yet is now ready to take that final leap to becoming a mobile-first organization. For starters, IBM’s mobile services include management and support of third-party apps, which includes those built on SAPUI5. Customers embracing the look and feel of SAP Fiori apps can look toward the IBM-Apple partnership as a secure and efficient way to roll out apps on Apple devices.

While provisioning in a bring-your-own device environment may have been an onerous task, the IBM-Apple partnership mitigates this concern with the Supply, Activate, and Manage service, helping to get the right information to the right user at the right time without having to be concerned with user access or security issues. This removes one barrier to enterprise-wide mobility, which is simply getting the devices out to people in a cost-effective way with secure provisioning.

So while the headlines might read “IBM and Apple” the full story of this agreement is the benefits that SAP customers can gain from it. SAPinsider will provide more details on this agreement and what it means to SAP users in the upcoming mobility special report, due for publication in October. Check the Special Report page for details in October.

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