Apple Prepares For Enterprise Push With New Sales Team And Developer Tie-Ups

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Reports suggest Apple is seeking more partnerships ahead of its enterprise venture with IBM

Apple is reportedly preparing its assault on the enterprise market by creating a dedicated sales team to target potential clients and is working with developers of existing apps popular among businesses to strengthen its planned push.

Earlier this year, Apple announced a partnership with IBM to bring the former’s cloud, analytics and mobile management services to iOS and to supply customers with iPhones and iPads running industry-specific applications.

These ‘MobileFirst for iOS’ apps will make use of IBM’s various technologies and will target various vertical industries. However it is claimed that Apple has also held discussions with startups, including ServiceMax and PlanGrid, in a bid to strengthen its portfolio of software.

Reuters says Apple has co-hosted eight dinners with ServiceMax, each of which attracted between 25 and 30 CIOs.

IBM Apple partnership

IBM-Apple-Tim-Cook- leadApple’s new sales team is also courting CIOs directly and CitiGroup has been mentioned as a likely customer as the Cupertino-based company seeks to break Dell and HP’s dominance in enterprise hardware and Oracle and SAP’s supremacy in software in an attempt to offset slowing growth.

IBM and Apple’s strategy will likely be similar to the one employed by the latter in the consumer market in that it hopes to lure businesses in with content and applications so they purchase more hardware.

Precious little has been disclosed by the partners since the tie-up was revealed in July, but Apple has set up a dedicated support service for its enterprise customers. Apple Care Enterprise provides businesses with a dedicated account manager who will review IT infrastructure, solve issues and provide monthly reports.

The service also promises “IT department level coverage” via phone and email with a one our response time. Each businesses is given six technical contacts, with more available for an additional fee, while customers can choose from one, two or three years of on-site cover, delivered through IBM’s outsourced IT division, IBM Global Technology Services.

iOS 8 has a number of features specifically targeted at the enterprise, including pass code protection, VIP threads, automatic out-of-office emails for Microsoft Exchange, support for third party document providers in iCloud and expanded document management for books and PDFs – something which is seen as vital for the education sector.