Apple will soon expand its enterprise roadmap thanks to a partnership that should result in the release of a new set of industry-specific iOS apps. The deal with Deloitte is designed to increase the value and appeal of Apple devices in the workplace with new specialized applications, network integrations and mobile-first processes for businesses.
[Related: Should Apple worry about Microsoft-IBM deal]
Deloitte plans to create a consultancy practice with a dedicated team of more than 5,000 strategic advisors, including iOS architects, developers and designers, to help businesses improve operations in retail, field services, recruiting, research and development, supply chain management and back-office systems.
Mike Brinker, digital lead at Global Deloitte, says the firm will take a federated approach to iOS by training and hiring experts embedded in each of its practices across all the countries, industries and business functions the company serves. "We believe this is an area for us that touches everything," he says. "It will touch all of our practices, from strategy through implementation."
Deloitte iOS consultancy, 'EnterpriseNext' services
As part of the agreement, Deloitte Consulting and Apple say they will also offer a new service called "EnterpriseNext," designed to help clients identify potential areas of improvement and develop new iOS apps and business processes through rapid prototyping. "We want to be able to have the most impact we can have in their digital transformation," says Janet Foutty, chairman and CEO, Deloitte Consulting. "We continue to be really energized about the movement from personal to enterprise and love Apple's focus in this space."
Apple's deal with Deloitte will help businesses and their employees get the most out of their current iOS devices, according to Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of Jackdaw Research. The level of support and guidance Deloitte promised isn't something Apple can do on its own, Dawson wrote in a research note. "Whereas Apple can sell and support iOS devices itself for generic uses, Deloitte can provide much deeper expertise around horizontal business functions and for specific vertical industries than Apple ever could."
CIOs know employees are going to find ways to use iOS devices for work purposes, according to Brinker. "We're helping our clients' employees work the way they live," he says. "It's better to get out ahead of that and manage it, and really embrace it, and fully exploit the power of it, rather than let it leak in through the edges of the organization."
Businesses also need to be more agile when they embrace digital transformation, Brinker says. "Faster pilots and smaller rollouts are really critical in the way they deploy, as opposed to the old days of doing big, monolithic waterfall type projects," he says.
Deloitte a new piece in Apple's enterprise puzzle
Following Apple's monumental agreement with IBM in 2014, the iPhone maker made subsequent deals with Cisco and SAP to expand its enterprise roadmap. Deloitte is one of world's largest SAP implementers, and it has a longstanding relationship with Cisco, according to Brinker. Deloitte's iOS practice and EnterpriseNext service will complement Apple's partnerships with Cisco and SAP, he says.
Though IBM's business overlaps more directly with some of Deloitte's interests, Brinker says the two competing firms' deals with Apple are distinct. IBM develops enterprise iOS apps as products, for example, resells Apple hardware and offers AppleCare directly to its customers. Deloitte doesn't plan to resell any products or AppleCare support, and most of its app development will be customized based on each client's needs, according to Brinker. Deloitte's clients will "require apps that are custom integrated into their backends and … more complex than you can get off the shelf," Brinker says.
Apple has been meticulous in its approach to the business world, according to CEO Foutty, and Deloitte is confident it fits well into Apple's vision for iOS in enterprise. "What I like about how Apple's thought about their partnerships and alliances is that they have been very distinct in thinking about each of the pieces," Foutty says. "We were very explicit in that conversation with them and feel really good about how they thought about the enterprise market for each of those dimensions."
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.