Apple, the Enterprise Company?

by Matt Klassen on December 17, 2015

Apple EnterpriseI never thought Apple could succeed as an enterprise IT company. In fact, for many years now I’ve thought that Apple’s unpreparedness for the rigours of the enterprise world would inevitably result in some dramatic catastrophe, one that would ultimately topple the Cupertino firm from its lofty perch.

I mean, how could Apple succeed in a business market it has ignored for the better part of two decades, whose inner-workings have seemed far too tedious and burdensome to manage for a sleek, hip, cutting edge brand like Apple? It always seemed to me that Steve Jobs personal philosophy was to leave the enterprise sector to the stuffed shirts; businesses are uncomfortable with innovation, so better to let some stagnant behemoth like Microsoft or IBM handle that.

Strangely enough, though, that ethos of apathy towards the enterprise market has transformed Apple into an enterprise brand, as its enterprise business alone would make the company one of the top 15 tech companies in the world. But how did Apple do it, particularly in an IT environment generally still wary of the company’s lax security and its failure to understand business applications or vertical markets?

At an Apple’s earnings call earlier this year Tim Cook nonchalantly tossed out a number that blew my mind: the company’s enterprise business was worth $25 billion. That means that in addition to being the world’s largest consumer-oriented mobile retailer (and not to mention the world’s most profitable company), it is also one of the largest enterprise IT retailers as well.

Despite the fact that Apple has almost zero enterprise credibility, zero knowledge of business needs, zero care for IT concerns, and zero patience for the inner-workings of the enterprise sector, the company’s strategy of virtually ignoring the business world altogether has been met with a startling amount of success, even as writers like me decry the fact that Apple still does remain woefully inapt to handle the daily rigours of the enterprise IT world.

That’s not to say that Apple’s penetration into the enterprise sector was accidental, though, as the company’s immensely popular iPhone is to thank for that. With the success of the iPhone in the consumer market, suddenly senior executives around the world were clamouring to use their favourite phone at work, with a clear message to IT: find a way to make it happen, or find a new job. Subsequently the BYOD movement was born, and the rest, I suppose, is history.

Not only that though, as with the advent of the iPad the company was able to deliver a portable computing platform that was as intuitive and familiar as their favourite phones. Once again insert the ultimatum to IT, and Apple’s enterprise presence was secured.

But again, Apple’s serendipitous dominance of the enterprise sector has come with its fair share of frustration, anger, and confusion, as the main side effect of not having a plan for enterprise IT is that, well, you don’t have a plan, and thus the needs of the IT world go largely unmet. So enter IBM, once the enemy of Apple, and dozens of other partner firms to handle the enterprise applications of Apple’s consumer products, and what you have is a company that is able to sell companies without really caring about the needs of those companies at all.

But of course that comes as little surprise, for Apple has never seemed to care about meeting anyone’s needs anyway, always more interested in dictating those needs with clever and intuitive gadgets; the brilliance of which is, of course, that you can’t fail when you convince everyone that whatever you have is what they need.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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