Much has been written about the announcement by IBM and Apple around their announcement of a partnership to increase enterprise mobility outcomes for organisations of varied size, industry and geography. Clearly it is seen as a positive move for both organisations and if executed upon will transform enterprise mobility.
Three points that have been missed by many commentators are critical.
The first is execution. All partnerships only show value when the parties are able to execute for real clients and this is no exception. If the partnership is simply a signed photo-op between Armonk and Cupertino then it is simply a hollow announcement. What will matter is how Apple and IBM execute the relationship on the ground in all the territories that it operates from Sydney to Santiago, Singapore and Shanghai. Local subsidiary politics and culture will need to be pushed to the side to allow clients to benefit from an integrated localised execution.
The second point relates to the apparent shock that IBM and Apple are working together on the basis of a Super Bowl advertisement that ran in 1984. Corporate antagonism may linger, but deals and pragmatism rule organisations such as IBM and Apple. A two second web search will inform that the two firms have actually worked in a client/provider basis for several years. Until recently selling off its Call Centre BPO business, IBM provided call centre support for Apple customers in the Asia Pacific region.
Third is the vision.
Clearly Apple brings the device and usability. IBM brings the enterprise and analytics. The ability to put the full power of organisational information in the hands of a democratised level of employees and users is where the two firms hope that the “Individual Enterprise” will be created. Faster and more accurate business decisions, collaboration, and organisational “hustle” is the potential outcome.
If this can be executed at the client and market level then the real value can be created for organisations. If it is built, structured and contracted by head office then it will be another case of potentially revolutionary technology partnerships dying as a result the typical technology dysfunction. The answer lies with Apple and IBM