Elfanbaum suggests that the MPP has perhaps begun to emerge more publicly in part because Apple’s general approach to supporting enterprises has changed, with the company moving a little away from engaging enterprises directly with its own sales organization and building up a channel partner network of solution providers and developers.
“I think historically the Mobility Partner Program was a lot more focused on product companies vs. solutions or integrated solutions companies [like ours],” he says. Asynchrony Labs focuses on integrating Apple technology into customers’ IT infrastructure and architecture, including Cisco networks, so that they can build upon those iPhone and iPad platforms. He says Asynchrony has had about a dozen people in recent months focused on research and development around Apple and Cisco products, and benefits by gaining access to alpha and beta products.
“Today, the customers are trying to figure out how to leverage APIs emerging from Cisco” related to products such as Spark, Meraki wireless gear, etc., Elfanbaum says. “So we can do things like at a large retail customer actually pulling data out of the network about what users are doing and how they’re accessing the network, and then using that data to drive customers’ experiences on the mobile application.”
Elfanbaum, who acknowledges members of his team were "early Apple fanboys" who appreciated Apple's architectural and security approaches, says the partner program goes way beyond a simple marketing deal. “The nice thing is that we interact with them heavily on the technical and engineering side, but increasingly on the go-to-market side,” he says.
Having that technical and engineering access allows Asynchrony to focus on really helping customers build apps that leverage specific mobile platforms, rather than just slapping desktop apps onto a mobile device.
While Asynchrony Labs has been working informally with Apple for years, it wasn’t easy getting into the MPP. “They are looking for commitments from us, and likewise for us, we wanted to make sure this wasn’t just a marketing thing, that it would bring real value to our collective customers,” Elfanbaum says.
ATIMI: FROM VANCOUVER TO CUPERTINO
This Vancouver-based native app development specialist, a part of Apple’s App Store since the day it opened, has carved out a separate page on its website to tout its inclusion among a handful of North American-based partners in the Apple Mobility Partner Program.
“There are literally thousands of companies out there that can build you a mobile app,” says Frank Matas, VP of sales and marketing for Atimi Software, which builds about 80% of its apps for both Apple and Android devices. “It’s a difficult market to differentiate yourself in today,” but being a member of the MPP helps, he says.
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