In the latest announcement from one of the biggest enterprise technology partnerships of the year, Apple and IBM reported that they have reached the 100 app milestone in their joint mobile initiative.
The 100 apps have been designed to assist professionals in 60 unique roles across 14 industries, including government, healthcare, telecommunications, transportation and insurance.
The apps, which are optimized for use on iPhone, iPad Pro, Apple Watch and even Apple TV, seek to transform existing processes, not just mobilize tasks. To achieve this, teams comprising of experts from both Apple and IBM worked directly with the employees who would be using the apps. This collaboration ensured not only that developers understood relevant business hurdles, but were familiar enough with workflows to redesign them using mobile development principles.
The partnership has proved successful so far thanks in large part to the way the two companies complement one another, Maribel Lopez, principal at Lopez Research, told Tech Crunch. "I think [Apple] brings the concept of simplicity (direct to task) and beauty to enterprise apps. IBM on the other hand understands business workflow, what generates productivity and back-end integration," she said.
In addition to the convenience of mobile accessibility, one of the greatest advantages customers have seen so far is the ability to utilize the features native to their mobile devices, such as camera, voice, messaging and location services.
In practice, many of the Apple/IBM apps developed so far work with businesses' existing back-end systems (ERP, CRM, etc.). In the future, IBM also plans to integrate its cognitive intelligence system, Watson, into these systems, offering businesses additional analytics and business intelligence functions. Armed with Watson, which could possibly even be paired with Apple's Siri interface, back-end systems could learn from the information they gather to run more effectively over time.