The Applefication of the Enterprise, Part I: Introduction

::An apple a day keeps the doctor away but if the doctor is cute screw the fruit::
Photo Credit: » Zitona «

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

–Leonardo da Vinci

Author’s note: In a series of posts over the next few months, I’ll be delving into a nascent trend: the Applefication of the Enterprise. Today’s introductory post lays a bit of the groundwork for the series. 

In early February of 2012, Halliburton, one of the world’s largest oilfield service companies, became the latest enterprise to abandon RIM’s BlackBerry. Halliburton’s new smartphone of choice: Apple’s iPhone.

Even two years ago, this would have been earth-shattering news. Companies of this size just didn’t buy Apple products. These days, however, announcements like these have almost become commonplace. That is, Halliburton is hardly alone in adopting the Apple’s iPhone throughout the company. In late 2011, Pfizer announced that it will purchase a rumored 37,000 iPads for its scientists and sales and manufacturing employees. In the same year, biotech giant Genentech announced that it had rolled out 30 company-specific apps in its own private app store.

Government Goes Apple Too

If you think that this trend is limited to the private sector companies rife with cash, think again. In mid-February of 2012, another government institution went Apple. As David Zax writes, “the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is throwing their BlackBerrys overboard, opting for Apple products instead. Though NOAA already put some 3,000 BlackBerry devices in circulation among its 20,000 workers, it will only be supporting the devices until May 12. NOAA CIO Joe Klimavicz cited the cost of Research in Motion’s software as the chief reason for the switch.” The cash-strapped public sector is realizing that Apple products are not only just cooler; they actually may be cost-efficient relative to existing applications and devices.

The reasons for these moves aren’t terribly difficult to understand. “With a relatively small investment, companies can re-create the whole information-on-the-fly scenario that was nearly impossible before”, says Pierfrancesco Manenti, an analyst at information technology outfit IDC. More large organizations will doubtless follow the mass exodus away from once omnipresent BlackBerries. PCs and laptops will give way to iPads. Apps will continue to supplant many complex software programs in new and exciting ways in enterprises across the globe.

The key point of these stories is not the demise of any one tool like the BlackBerry, a product whose rate of innovation clearly has trailed that of its competitors. Rather, the story illustrates a new mind-set and the transformative power of Apple and its products. They are no longer merely the solve purview of stylish consumers, small design firms, and niche start-ups. Increasingly, Apple products are now accepted as real products in real companies that solve real problems.

Definition: The Applefication of the Enterprise

The Applefication of the Enterprise is not just about enterprises purchasing and deploying Apple products. Rather, it’s about what companies like Apple and Google represent: simplicity, ease of use, self-service and rapid deployment. Every organization will not use Apple products—and Apple couldn’t produce enough iPads, iPhones, and MacBooks even if every last CIO signed up. Rather, Apple is focusing all organizations to reevaluate their existing technologies, applications, and infrastructure with the intent of making them simpler, more user-friendly, more Apple. In short, Apple is causing large organizations to think different.


What say you?

In the next installment of this series, I’ll be taking a look at some of the factors driving the Applefication of the Enterprise.

–Phil Simon

Category: Information Management, Information Strategy