Apple and IBM announced a global partnership
for “enterprise mobility” this week, but what does this truly mean for enterprises?
What can we expect to see in terms of real deliverables in the next 6-12 months? Let’s take a look at the four “core capabilities” the new partnership will address.
A new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions
IBM is putting a stake in the ground — promising to build 100 new apps, including native apps developed exclusively from the ground up for iPhone and iPad. This is an awesome goal and will help get companies thinking more about employee enablement.
From a practical standpoint, Apple has made no secret that it wants developers to build fully “native” apps, that is, apps built specifically for iOS that take advantage of the unique iPhone and iPad features. But enterprises have shown increased interest in “cross platform” and HTML5 based solutions such as Appcelerator, Xamarin, and IBM’s own Worklight solution to leverage development budgets.
Apple has historically taken a dim view of apps created with “cross platform” solutions. The company believes that the user experience and performance are never quite as good as the “full native” solution that can be built with Apple’s Xcode.
So will IBM be fully supporting Xcode with its tools? Or perhaps using Apple’s new Swift programming language (which Apple announced at its WWDC event in June)? Or will IBM morph the Worklight solution or the IBM MobileFirst solution so that it’s set to be more iOS specific, and deviate from the cross-platform message? Time will tell. When we start to see the first set of “native apps” coming from IBM, it will be interesting to see what “native app” really means, but we are excited to see a focus on business and employee empowerment no matter how apps are built.
Unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS
IBM has assembled a portfolio of solutions that provide mobile device management, app level security, and numerous analytics approaches for both apps and back end management. Their emphasis on the IBM Cloud Marketplace and the Bluemix development platform can support the iOS environment. What’s interesting is that the Fiberlink MDM technology IBM recently acquired will no doubt be a major component of this solution, but since many existing customers already have MDM from the likes of Mobile Iron or AirWatch, or use MAM from Apperian it is not clear they will want a “rip and replace” solution. IBM will need to figure out a cooperative strategy with existing infrastructure to make this successful....
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