Earlier this week, IBM and Apple announced a partnership to offer standard enterprise mobility solutions on iOS hardware. While neither party has revealed the details of the business arrangement, this announcement appears to represent a significant step forward in mobile strategy and go-to-market aggressiveness for both companies.
For Apple, its marketing department is quick to point out that individual consumer preferences have pushed iPhones and iPads into the enterprise in large numbers. But those of us that speak to business decision makers on a regular basis know that many organizations continue to be wary of operationally-focused business applications on Apple. Concerns range from security to manage-ability to device durability. With the IBM partnership and supported by the enterprise-grade sensibilities of IBM’s software infrastructure and services, Apple’s proliferation in the enterprise should increase more rapidly, and we should see increased deployment of line-of-business apps on iOS devices. All of this just means good things for Apple – more companies buying more Apple products in larger numbers.
For IBM, the benefits are numerous. Clearly, it’s an opportunity to make a big marketing splash – both with the announcement and with the ongoing ability to market and sell Apple products. IBM offers numerous high-value products for big business. But let’s face it, IBM does not sell many “cool” products. Adding Apple devices to the portfolio allows IBM to complement its pragmatic software and services portfolios with attractive and high-quality products that many individuals within their customers want anyway - and now through a trusted enterprise-friendly partner. That’s just good business.
Another benefit for IBM is the standardization of hardware options for the solutions that will be included as part of this initiative (those are unidentified at this time). By minimizing the complexity of the hardware option, IBM is reducing the costs associated with development and especially testing. This may be a pragmatic response from IBM, amidst a market backdrop that clearly values cross-platform mobility and alignment with corporate BYOD policies. A cross-platform application inherently offers more access and investment protection compared to platform-specific applications. Still, cross-platform is complex and therefore expensive. One wonders if IBM has experienced some of the potential pains associated with cross-platform mobility in real production scenarios, and they may be looking to associate specific initiatives with specific platforms in the spirit of focus and complexity avoidance. Going forward, as IBM continues to evolve and grow its “MobileFirst” portfolio, look for the company to continue to invest in technologies that advance the state of the art in IBM’s ability to develop, deliver, deploy, and support cross-platform applications.
Many have remarked about the “exclusive” nature of the IBM-Apple partnership. This particular initiative looks to have an exclusive nature to it, but as an organization IBM will almost certainly continue to implement solutions that support other mobile platforms, specifically Android and Windows. The market for those products is too large for IBM to ignore them. By defining this particular strategic initiative as one based on Apple products, IBM is establishing themselves as the technology solution provider with a specific focus on Apple alignment. Although Apple has a storied history as a successful organization, big players in the technology solutions market were unlikely to compete over the attention from the Apple aficionados, largely the design/education/consumer niche. We live in a different world now. Apple products are mainstream and businesses want to figure out how to incorporate Apple hardware into productive applications. It was a matter of time before someone of IBM’s pedigree delivered this shot across the bow to the market.
One thing is certain. In conference rooms of IBM’s competitors across the globe, executives are planning a response.
The enterprise mobility arms race may have just begun.
VP Products, @hand
June 25, 2014 – Austin, TX - @hand today announced the first release of TYRIAN™, a mobile-first enterprise application that interfaces with Oracle PeopleSoft’s Maintenance Management (MM) and Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) modules.
TYRIAN is pre-integrated to support critical PeopleSoft maintenance and asset management transactions, while delivering easy-to-use applications in the hands of mobile workers such as technicians and maintenance managers. With this first release, the application offers best-in-class work management functionality, with support for the following features:
“As with many @hand product initiatives, we are innovating with our customers,” according to Rob Beauchamp, @hand’s Vice President of Field Operations. “For this initiative, @hand is currently working with a strategic partner in the real estate services market to deploy TYRIAN applications to many of the world’s leading facilities. The next time you visit a large corporate facility and see a technician using a smartphone to process work orders, there’s a good chance that may be an @hand TYRIAN solution.”
TYRIAN is based on the @hand Adaptive MobileTM Architecture, a powerful and flexible software platform to enable enterprise mobility apps on smart devices such as iOS, Android, and Windows. @hand’s patented platform technology provides data synchronization, mobile application deployment and management services, and a mobile transaction hub that provides a controlled interface for PeopleSoft integration.
With @hand’s robust architecture as the foundation, TYRIAN offers secure support for both connected and disconnected use cases. TYRIAN can also combine PeopleSoft-aligned features with customer-specific functionality, providing a tailored solution that meets precise customer needs.
@hand provides mobile applications and an enabling mobile architecture for enterprise customers. Since 1998, @hand software has powered and delivered numerous business-critical applications in asset management, field service, mobile sales, and supply chain environments. The @hand Adaptive MobileTM Architecture includes a patented data distribution engine that enables mobile applications to function online and offline, as well as an open application framework that supports iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.
Three technology companies have announced their collaborative working, with the aim of enhancing the operational processes and efficiencies of Oil & Gas Services companies in the UK.
Cambridge based productivity solutions provider, Herbert Group, Texas based enterprise mobility software company, @hand and Teeside based intrinsically safe mobile device manufacturer, ecom, are partnering to deliver unique mobility solutions that integrate mobile and field-based processes into the information technology ecosystem, unleashing a new value layer for the enterprise.
The three organizations specialize in mobile device and software fulfillment, so as to aid productivity in enterprise environments, and with their extensive knowledge and deployment within the global oil & gas sector, have developed solutions that undoubtedly enhance oil & gas enterprise level efficiencies.
Established in 1988, with customers ranging from NASA to Baker Hughes, @hand solutions are configured to manage widely-distributed assets and employees that incorporate a high degree of variability in work processes. @hand recognizes the importance of retaining processes that are effective in a local environment, and their solutions leverage autonomy where appropriate, and yet provide standards to data collection and aggregation.
Energy service operations that can benefit from @hand solutions include: well completions, cementing, stimulation/fracturing, drilling, coil tubing and many others, where the software aims to assist in such items as service and sales order updates, electronic field tickets, job logs, resource utilization, materials tracking, safety and quality documentation, assignment, dispatch and approval.
With regards to Herbert, they offer more than 250 years of successfully specifying, managing and deploying productivity solutions in a variety of vertical markets, and with a national workforce of own-staff engineers, can guarantee maximum uptime and productivity for their customer base. As @hand’s chosen partner for the UK market, Herbert are working to aid oil & gas services companies in their goal of enhancing efficiency and allocation of resources.
Founded in 1986, ecom specializes in enterprise mobility for hazardous areas within the oil & gas, chemical, petrochemical, mining, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. Setting standards in this field for over 25 years, ecom have acquired extensive expertise in explosion protection for everyday industrial environments worldwide. Working with @hand and Herbert, their class-leading solutions offer forward-thinking mobile computing hardware and a comprehensive support platform, to ensure the best user experience, and allow for the widest range of applications, while maintaining proven reliability.
Glen Hall, Director at Herbert, commented: “Our mission is to deliver successful solutions that leverage @hand's unique mix of technology, innovation, and expertise, so as to add real benefit to oil and gas operations in the UK. This ethos, culture and level of expertise is shared with both @hand and ecom, and together we provide the ideal collaborative partnership to align with UK market demands - @hand software layered on ecom technology, scoped, delivered and supported by the Herbert team.”
Further information on the @hand solution can be found at www.herbertgroup.com
Herbert is an established provider of class-leading technology based solutions to major organizations in fast moving industries in the UK. Focused on business improvement, our solutions are designed to increase productivity and provide our clients with the competitive edge. Partnered with pioneering technology leaders from around the globe, Herbert deliver end-to-end solutions implemented through our nationwide network of specialist installation, 24/7 servicing, support and repair services.
Founded in 1986, ecom instruments are a pioneer and a world leader in the development of mobile devices for use in potentially explosive areas, including oil & gas, chemical, petrochemical, mining, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. ecom has set standards in this field for over 25 years and has acquired extensive expertise in explosion protection for everyday industrial use in hazardous areas all over the world.
@hand provides mobile applications and an enabling mobile architecture for enterprise customers. Since 1998, @hand software has powered and delivered numerous business-critical applications in asset management, field service, field sales, and supply chain environments. The @hand mobile architecture includes a patented data distribution engine that allows mobile applications to function online and offline, as well as an open application framework that supports iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.