This summer, IBM announced MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services. This initiative is designed to help large enterprises incorporate Apple Macintosh computer systems within their IT infrastructures. IBM will be providing deployment, security and managed services for the Apple Macintosh platform for their enterprise clients. This new partnership obviously bodes well for Apple, Inc. with regard to furthering their efforts to penetrate the enterprise with Macintosh.
But with the entrance of this new “Goliath” Apple partner, what might be the viewpoint of the over 1,200 U.S.-based long-standing “David” Apple authorized consulting partners?
Furthermore, for those authorized Apple consulting partners who additionally happen to be closely partnered with JAMF Software, what increased concerns might they feel in knowing that IBM has selected the Casper Suite from JAMF Software as their management solution for this new service?
Is there perhaps a double threat looming?Some consultants might naturally have an initial “knee jerk” reaction with fears that these new offerings from the undeniably “giant” IBM might command the market, thereby placing smaller Apple and JAMF consulting firms in some degree of jeopardy.
But a less emotional and more practical, business oriented viewpoint might indeed prove quite the opposite. So why should Apple authorized consulting partners like BFA Technologies, Inc. be not only encouraged but indeed excited by IBM’s newfound presence in the Apple consulting arena?
And furthermore, how might this enterprise-focused initiative by IBM indeed have a profound positive affect on other businesses themselves…. small and medium sized businesses (SMB’s) wishing to adopt or further adopt Apple Macintosh?
The Positive Trickle-Down Effect of IBM’s Presence
The truth is that IBM’s entry into the realm of Macintosh consulting will be a good thing for all concerned.
By helping to bring Macs to large corporations, IBM will serve to further legitimize the Macintosh as a viable enterprise platform and inevitably create a “trickle down” effect of SMBs following the lead of these enterprises.
Furthermore, as the increase of Macintosh in the business and enterprise arena grows, once reluctant third-party application developers will arguably want to re-examine their business proposition with regard to increased or indeed, for some - first-time support - of the Apple Macintosh platform.
Obviously, as small and medium-sized businesses begin to increase their commitment to – or indeed make the switch to - Apple Macintosh, this will clearly serve to increase the overall need for Apple-related IT consulting services. And so will IBM be the direct recipient of this pent-up SMB IT consulting need? The answer is ‘no”.
Historically, IBM’s consulting services have been crafted for and targeted at larger businesses and enterprises. And so who does this leave as the obvious benefactor from an IT consulting perspective? You got it: the community of existing Apple authorized consulting partners.
There is one other interesting fact to note.
For years, many enterprises have long had “pockets” of Apple Macintosh throughout their companies; and the corporate IT stance for many of these companies has been that these Macintosh users were literally “on their own” from an official IT support perspective. In turn, this has historically brought about the need for Apple authorized consulting partners in those enterprises, albeit in selected areas or divisions.
And so the reality is that some traditional Apple consulting partners indeed already enjoy a presence in the enterprise.
And again – perhaps fueled by success stories of IBM’s efforts - as the adoption of Apple Macintosh potentially grows within those particular enterprises, those consultancies will arguably be in the favorable position of showing a proven track record in their role of consultant and trusted advisor within that enterprise.
JAMF Software Professional Services (PS) partners:
As was mentioned by JAMF Software Sr. leadership to its partners, the JAMF / IBM relationship “is a testament to our joint work in solving customer problems.”
And as with Apple, the decision by IBM to use JAMF Software’s Casper Suite will only serve to increase the visibility of JAMF Software’s industry leading solutions and to further the momentum that has already been built by the company and it’s existing partners.
The legion of long time Apple authorized consulting partners should have every reason to be excited by this new IBM MobileFirst initiative and the increased partnership between IBM and Apple. These consultancies will continue to provide needed, value-add services in their traditional arenas - those typically not served by the likes of IBM – while enjoying the many positive side effects of IBM’s efforts in their own market space.
In 1981, Apple welcomed IBM to the personal computer industry with a now famous ad entitled: “Welcome, IBM. Seriously”. as this article remembers. (NOTE: This article humorously turns the tables with it’s title of “Welcome Apple, Seriously” in referencing the 2014 joint partnership announcement between IBM and Apple.)
But Apple and JAMF Software consulting partners alike should smile and take a similar approach to the addition of IBM as a major Apple consulting partner, by also taking the approach of: “Welcome, IBM. Seriously”. As one composer once wrote, “Don’t worry...be happy.”
But in the end, the real winners will clearly be clients – both SMB and enterprise – as now more than ever before, they can all look forward to an increased exposure to the merits of Apple Macintosh technology and to the arguably inevitable literal “wave” of adoption and accompanying application and consulting support in and around that platform.
For a big-picture look at the Apple/IBM partnership timeline, check out this post.