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Apple in the enterprise? It's already there

Egnyte used its study to show the importance of agnostic enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategies that allow seamless compatibility across any devices and any operating system.

In recent years, Apple has marched into the enterprise, mainly through partnerships with leading IT vendors that create iOS-based apps and services.

For example, Accenture just announced a new dedicated iOS practice within its Digital Studios in select locations around the world. Experts from Apple, including software and hardware developers, data architects and data scientists, will be co-located in Accenture's iOS practice offices.

The partnerships are necessary for iOS-based apps to connect to legacy back-end systems that enable access to corporate data. Apple will be using Accenture's systems integration expertise; in turn, Accenture – which helps companies develop and deploy custom business apps – can use Apple's APIs to craft business applications for iPhones and iPads.

"It's not just your typical partnership, where two organizations say we're going to partner together and sell or represent each other's stuff," Baker said. "They're actually putting personnel in those [IBM, Accenture and Deloitte] facilities, working with them to build solutions and components and apps that can be deployed over and over again with some degree of modification."

At the same time, partnerships with software and networking providers such as SAP and Cisco will allow those companies to use Apple's SDKs to develop APIs to connect to their products.

"There's a kit for the developers that they can just drop into their development environment that gives you all that capability that the iOS device can offer... cameras, GPS data, push notifications, etc. So, if you want to build an application as a front end to an SAP back end, you've got all those capabilities that are unique to iOS," Baker said.

Last year, IBM announced its MobileFirst iOS strategy, which was aimed at helping enterprises build custom apps for specific vertical industries, such as healthcare, financial services and entertainment.

"In the case of IBM," Baker said, "Apple basically had control over the design and the front-end capabilities and IBM had responsibility for the back-end integration capabilities, which actually gave the functionality to the apps."

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes iOS devices have only begun to "scratch the surface" of what businesses "can do with our products."

Jack Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates, agreed – though he noted that Apple only has about 5% of the desktop market, with Windows owning the lion's share. While Apple believes it has an enterprise play, in reality it has a strategy but no firm tactic for gaining a significant foothold in the enterprise.

"So they really need partners like IBM, Accenture and HP," Gold said.



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