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Apple's enterprise partnerships, big and small, start to pay off

Matt Kapko | June 3, 2016
Apple is slowly strengthening its foothold in the enterprise through a series of partnerships with established providers of business services, large and small. Here's a breakdown of what's working, from the perspective of Apple's leading business partners, as well as how the pacts benefit CIOs.

This factor will dramatically change CIOs' jobs, but it will also empower them to help businesses overcome the structural shifts taking place today in nearly every industry, according to Patel. "The world is actually flattened from a competition standpoint where you're not just competing with your competitors, you're now competing with the best-in-class in the digital world, regardless of the business that you might be in," he says. "That's a pretty interesting problem to solve for CIOs."

Apple's enterprise effect on CIOs

Some of Apple's progress in the enterprise is a direct result of smaller alliances with companies including Box and DocuSign. Both organizations say these partnerships helped them understand the unique challenges IT professionals face when managing and securing Apple devices, and they regularly share best practices with their CIO customers. 

DocuSign's Brooks says today's CIO faces a "giant wall of worry" that's building up around the demands of employees, and some IT professionals think Apple's move into enterprise compounds the issue. "The question is can you channel it off and mitigate the impacts of it, or are you going to take it head-on?" he says. 

Fear is simply no longer an acceptable or appropriate response to Apple devices in the enterprise, according to Brooks. "This is the constant challenge that is becoming greater and greater for CIOs," he says. "You've got this tension around data security, integrity and the way that you used to be able to combat that as a CIO is create a bigger firewall, build a bigger moat. The reality is that just doesn't work anymore."

Enterprises need to carefully plan and embrace the conversion to mobile at the most senior level, according to Brooks.

"It’s really important to pick the right problem to solve in mobile," Patel says. "Make sure that your product or solution that you're providing is not just 20 percent better than what's available in the market, but 10 times better."

Patel estimates that only 30 percent of businesses are prepared for the type of mobile transformation Apple has started to create with its enterprise partners. "Everyone's going to be digital," he says. "The nuance in whether or not you'll succeed is in the mechanics of how you go about doing it."


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