Apple and IBM: ready to serve the mobile workforce

iPhone user
Apple is now in an even stronger position to serve the enterprise

There was a time when working for a larger corporation meant that you could not use your own personal mobile phone (let alone an iPad) to conduct corporate business. If you were lucky you were issued a clunky old mobile phone (not a smart phone) and told to make do.

Ostensibly this was for security reasons - that external phone surely couldn't be trusted to access corporate data. Fast forward to today and just about every one of our customers at uses a smartphone to conduct business anywhere.

It's a marketing cliche but: need to check your business inventory? There's an app for that. Issue payroll or check tax implications on a new investment? There's an app for that. Rearrange employee work schedules? There's an app for that.

The smartphone is not just changing the way that businesses operate - it is freeing the managers and employees to engage in the moment, when business tasks are most urgent. IBM (and Apple to a lesser extent) has it's roots in the PC era. You remember that right? It's where an employee would go and sit at a desk, and work on a big grey box called a 'computer.' If the employee got out of the chair, all of their computing stopped.

Keeping up with the age of mobility

Both companies have now come full circle and realised that today's information workers are actually getting out of their chairs and walking around. Be it a smartphone, tablet or notebook, the tasks previously associated with a static location are no longer static.

We have seen an aggressive adoption of mobile devices in our business and by our customers. In short, our customers want to walk around and work at the same time. This pairing of Apple hardware and IBM's global reach, salesforce and corporate penetration is a strategic coup.

Apple needs to get more corporations to adopt the new 'walk around' model of computing, and IBM needs the hardware that enables this transition.

Despite the deep penetration of Apple products into the workplace (according to Apple their products are used by over 92 percent of the Global Fortune 500), creating a partnership with the acknowledged leader in corporate computing and delivering apps that are tailored to the needs of larger corporations, bodes well for us all seeing iPads and iPhones taking over the dominant workplace computing role.

  • Daniel Foster is Technical Director at