Apple Partners With Deloitte To Further Its Enterprise Ambitions

Apple and Deloitte are teaming up with a new partnership aimed at expanding the use of iPhones and iPads within the business world, the companies said Wednesday.

As part of the partnership, Deloitte, ranked at No. 16 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500 list, will be launching a new Apple practice consisting of more than 5,000 strategic advisers.

Deloitte did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Related: Apple Is Buying More IBM Products And Drinking The IBM Enterprise Kool-Aid]

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In a news release, Punit Renjen, CEO of New York-based Deloitte Global, said that ’our dedicated Apple practice will give global businesses the expertise and resources they need to empower their mobile workforce to take advantage of the powerful ecosystem iOS, iPhone and iPad offer, and help them achieve their ambitions, while driving efficiency and productivity.’

The Apple practice at Deloitte will seek to help companies ’change the way they work across their entire enterprise’ using iOS devices, according to the release.

The partnership will include a new service from Deloitte Consulting, EnterpriseNext, aimed at developing custom iOS-related solutions for businesses.

EnterpriseNext will involve development of custom apps that integrate with ERP, CRM and other business platforms, Apple and Deloitte said.

The Deloitte partnership follows two other major partnerships between Apple and enterprise technology stalwarts, IBM and Cisco Systems, which both have enterprise mobility as the focus.

The partnership also comes as Apple has been seeing a decline in sales for both its iPhone and iPad segments in recent quarters.

In the news release, the companies said the Deloitte Apple practice will be the ’first of its kind’ and will help businesses to ’easily transform the way they work’ using iOS.

Deloitte’s workforce itself has 100,000 iOS devices, with 75 custom apps, in use, Renjen said in the release.

Michael Oh, an executive with an Apple partner, called the move ’a very positive thing for the Apple ecosystem as a whole.’

’When you look at the Deloitte partnership, the IBM partnership and the Cisco partnership, you’re looking at Apple obviously trying to plant flags within the biggest enterprise players out there, and effectively be treated as a peer,’ said Oh, chief technology officer with TSP, of Cambridge, Mass. ’If Apple's making inroads in the enterprise, then clearly that's going to help channel partners trying to pitch into businesses with iOS devices.’

However, the size of Deloitte and the investment the company is able to make into the Apple partnership — including software development — make this distinct from the sort of partnership with Apple that most channel players could pull off, Oh said.

But there still may be lessons for solution providers here in terms of working with Apple technologies, he added.

’The channel needs to look at things differently beyond the model of providing equipment and providing some IT knowledge on how to use it,’ Oh said. ’The implication here is that if you want to be playing with the big boys, you have to be figuring out how to solve business problems, and that may even include developing software. I don’t know very many channel partners that have that kind of stuff in-house. But maybe there are partnerships that guys like us need to be making with people that develop software, or even with someone that is doing business process consulting.’