Apple on the Enterprise: ‘iPhones, iPads Not Being Used to Full Potential’
INGRAM MICRO CLOUD SUMMIT — We all know Apple as a business-to-consumer (B to C) company. It’s certainly not the first company that comes to mind when thinking about business-to-business (B to B) vendors. But Apple wants that to change. Attendees at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Boca Raton, Florida, heard more about Apple’s enterprise strategy from the main keynote stage on Thursday.
In a fireside chat, Matt Brennan, head of worldwide enterprise strategy at Apple, and Richard Dufty, senior vice president, worldwide sales for CloudBlue, Ingram Micro’s new and independent cloud-platform division, filled in the pieces for partners, and what it means to them.
“We want everyone to know that Apple is dedicated to helping the enterprise,” Brennan confirmed for the audience.
That’s not a new mission for Apple, as the company has been a leader in the enterprise mobility space for years — think about nurses working with an iPhone in hand or dispatch workers who rely on an iPad. What’s new is that three years ago, Apple looked at the progress it made and decided there was more it could do.
“We have significant penetration in the enterprise with iPhones and iPads, but they’re not being used to their full potential. They’re being used for basic communication, basic workloads — but they can be doing so much more,” Brennan said. “So for us, partnering is about building an ecosystem that can help our customers realize what you can really do with mobility in the business world.
In the last three years, Apple has been putting together a global team and strategy, and has started to get more active in the business market. The company has been working very selectively with ISV partners to develop business apps for its B2B app store. Apple also has been busy forging relationships with vendors.
For example, back in March at IBM Think, the vendor announced that IBM Watson was joining forces with Apple Core ML, the smartphone giant’s machine-learning framework. The combination is designed to result in the next level of apps for the mobile enterprise, such as getting real-time insights, the ability to analyze images, classify visual content and train models using Watson.
In 2014, IBM and Apple announced a global partnership with a goal of transforming enterprise mobility.
The iPhone-maker also recently announced, with Cisco, Aon and Allianz, a new cyber-risk management solution for businesses. And there have been other targeted partnerships.
Brennan said that Apple is making big investments in sales, marketing and engineering for the enterprise and is hiring hundreds of people all in its effort to deliver value to the business customers. This investment includes helping the partners it will work with.
“Our role in the journey of every customer needs to grow,” he said. “Our roots are in the consumer and will always be with the consumer. But, we also knew we needed to change — consumers are workers as well. We had to become a part of helping businesses realize what you can do to unlock value for the employee, their most valuable commodity.”
Brennan said Apple has been strategizing for the past six months about how to work with partners and scale through those relationships. For starters, he talked about packaging products to make it easy for partners to sell. He also talked about working with Ingram Micro and ISVs to get their offers on CloudBlue — solutions that partners can take to their customers.
“The long-term vision is that we’re invested to make sure that partners can deliver value to customers,” Brennan said.