Apple-IBM Partnership Sprouts Latest Set Of Apps At Mobile World Congress
When Apple and IBM announced a partnership last year, more than a few jaws dropped, but the two have been working together to create a new wave of enterprise-friendly apps — and announced the latest round to come out of the affiliation today at Mobile World Congress.
At first glance, the meeting of these two companies may seem a case of technology making strange bedfellows, but they joined forces with the idea of combining Apple design sense with IBM enterprise know-how.
Steve Jobs after all was known to sneer at the enterprise. His heart was squarely with the consumer, but in the post-Jobs Apple, there appears to be a greater desire to meet the needs of business and to bring that same consumer simplicity ethos Apple is famous for to work.
Katharyn White, IBM’s global lead for the IBM-Apple partnership, who seemed genuinely pumped to be involved in the project, says the two companies want to bring the wow factor to workplace software. This is actually something we have been hearing from companies since at least 2009 when the iPad really altered the perception of how software should work.
“The goal of the partnership is bring to our work lives, the same experience we have in our personal lives,” she said.
The idea is that people use these great tools in their personal lives, then they go to work and use clunky business software designed more for IT, than the needs of people trying to do a job. This is essentially the root of the “Consumerization of IT,” that idea of bringing consumer-style software to the workplace we have been hearing about for several years now. Apple and IBM certainly aren’t the first to try this, but with these two high-profile companies involved, it’s bound to get attention.
hite says the companies have four main goals in mind when they create an app. First of all they want to address a real pain point and find a way to fix it with a new mobile workflow. Next, they want to take advantage of analytics, so that the app gets smarter the more people use it and each update builds on the data they’ve gathered. Thirdly, they want to exploit the fact that it’s a mobile device and it has tools like GPS, camera, accelerometer and so forth. Finally, they want to make the app fundamentally change the way an employee works.
The partnership launched last year with 10 apps, and today they are adding three new entries including apps for airline customer service, retail buyers and wealth managers. They have released 14 in total to-date, with an ambitious target to release 100 apps by the end of this year.