Apple and IBM sprung a surprise last year when they announced a partnership. Both companies have been working together to create enterprise-friendly apps and recently announced the latest additions at the Mobile World Congress.
The idea of combining Apple design sense with IBM enterprise know-how is strangely logical. Apple has always supported the consumer over enterprise but there appears to be a growing desire to support business using Apple’s famous simplicity.
Kathryn White, IBM’s global lead for the IBM-Apple partnership said the two companies want to bring the wow factor to workplace software.
She continued, “The goal of the partnership is bring to our work lives, the same experience we have in our personal lives.”
The approach underpins the “Consumerization of IT,” by bringing consumer orientated software to the workplace. Apple and IBM certainly aren’t the first to try this but both companies have the clout to make a splash.
Last year the partnership was launched with 10 apps. They are now adding three new entries including apps for airline customer service, retail buyers and wealth managers. To date they have released 14 in total but with a target to release 100 apps by the end of this year.
The airline Passenger Care customer service tool is possibly the most interesting. It’s designed to improve the customer experience and support airline to employee’s better deal with delays, moving consumers around flights and offering alternatives. White described a scenario where employees with iPads moved through the lounge and dealing with people individually to rebook them, send them to a lounge or to get a meal.
To help retail buyers locate the best deals with high revenue “spot buys”, the partners are creating a Dynamic Buy-buyer app. There is also a wealth management app called Advisor Alert is designed to help financial service advisors provide better information.
The partnership could potentially be a fruitful one if things go well. However, like any area of commerce the apps will need to support businesses and help improve services if they are to genuinely thrive.