Apple and Accenture on Tuesday announced a new partnership to develop iOS tools and services to help enterprises connect with their customers through iPads and iPhones.
Accenture will create a dedicated iOS practice within Accenture Digital Studios, staffed by a range of visual and experience designers, programmers, data scientists and architects, as well as hardware and software designers. An Apple expert will be embedded in the team.
“Starting 10 years ago with iPhone and then with iPad, Apple has been transforming how work gets done,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Yet we believe that businesses have only begun to scratch the surface of what they can do with our products.”
Based on his firm’s experience with developing apps, iOS is a superior platform for business, said Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme.
The companies plan to develop new ecosystem services to deal with the full range of iOS integration requirements needed to connect back-end systems. They will leverage Accenture’s expertise in systems integration, along with unique iOS advantages that Apple built with its partners Cisco and SAP.
The companies plan to develop Internet of Things services featuring new tools, templates and predesigned code to take greater advantage of IoT platforms in iOS apps.
They also plan to work on migration services to help move applications and data from legacy systems to modern iOS apps.
“This is interesting, because the enterprise remains a large opportunity for electronic purchases and Apple is not always welcome through traditional IT channels,” noted Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.
“Many IT departments do not purchase Apple products for a variety of reasons, such as the lack of support for traditional IT tools, lack of device-level support provided by other vendors, and the higher cost of the Apple products,” he told the E-Commerce Times.
IT managers often are forced to offer support for Apple products brought in by employees, McGregor pointed out.
The agreement marks Apple’s latest effort to expand the use of its iOS mobile devices into the enterprise space.
IBM and Apple in 2014 entered a partnership to develop business apps for the iPad and iPhone using its analytics and big data capabilities. The two companies last year advanced that partnership, with IBM announcing plans to extend its Watson cognitive technology into the MobileFirst for iOS ecosystem.
Apple and Cisco in 2015 entered an agreement that would allow Cisco to optimize its network for iOS and work with various collaboration tools, including Cisco Spark, Cisco Telepresence and Cisco WebEx.
Apple and SAP last year entered an agreement to create apps for the iPhone and iPad using SAP’s HANA data management platform.
Apple has worked directly with Accenture in the past, building applications for many clients, and it has certified developers, noted Peter Soh, managing director of marketing and communications at Accenture.
For example, nuclear power plant operator Exelon in 2015 worked with Accenture on an Electronic Work Package, which used software from DataGlance on iPads.
Apple has been selective in terms of its partnerships in the enterprise space, observed Bryan Bassett, research analyst, mobile enterprise, at IDC.
Accenture’s expertise in legacy back-end integration will be a key feature of this new agreement, he told the E-Commerce Times.
“I certainly think there is demand for the types of solutions Apple and Accenture are looking to bring to customers, particularly in regards to connecting legacy and back-end systems to new feature-rich iOS applications,” Bassett said.
Many large enterprises still use outdated legacy software to handle their back-end systems, he told the E-Commerce Times, and there is demand for updated applications.