CIOs desperately want to shed IT's reputation for doing only big, hairy, not-quite-right technology projects, and instead be seen as the go-to source of nimble, lightweight, just-what-you-need apps.
The new IBM-Apple deal, announced on July 15, feeds on this IT aspiration. The deal promises to deliver 100 ready-made, enterprise-class smartphone apps tuned to your industry, better enterprise support for iPhones and iPads, and easier Apple device management. It promises IBM's big data analytical depth with iPhone glitz.
In those areas it touches, the IBM-Apple pact does look like a very big deal that will help CIOs solve certain employees' mobility problems, including their growing thirst for mobile data. For example, CIOs will welcome better enterprise support of Apple products. I've heard many a CIO grumble about Apple's limited support. Whether it's procuring devices or troubleshooting problems, Apple hasn’t had its heart in this kind of IT hand-holding. Apple often would point IT organizations to third-party firms. Now it has one very big third-party partner to point to: IBM.
However, the deal speaks only to those problems that fit into a tidy picture of an Apple-centric ecosystem. Mobility for CIOs is a whole lot more complicated, including Android devices, BYOD policies, Internet of Things data, and more. IBM has deep expertise and services across those areas, but the announcement refers four times to the "exclusive" nature of the IBM-Apple deal. CIOs will be looking for assurances that their complex mobile technology environments jibe with the IBM-Apple vision.
[ Read the rest of this story on InformationWeek. ]