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IBM now has 100 iOS apps for business, enterprise; adding future Watson capabilities

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Apple made a smart choice when partnering with IBM for business apps: Not only does the company understand business processes, it has Watson for big data analysis.

IBM’s partnership effort with Apple continues to grow in the enterprise with the company now boasting it has developed 100 IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps.

Recent companies using Apple hardware and IBM software include Air Canada, AXS, Vodafone Netherlands along with some new businesses: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Bosch BSH and SAS are joining the ranks as well.

The IBM MobileFirst for iOS partnership is interesting, and not only because in its early days, Apple was essentially the “anti-IBM” company.

Based on the apps that continue to drive the partnership, it appears to be a very focused effort to determine what business activities are and aren’t effective on mobile devices. I don’t see many apps that raise the question, “Why would I want to do that on a phone or tablet?”

Take the Passenger+ iOS app for SAS, Scandanvia’s largest airline, for example. Flight attendants can quickly view a passenger’s past preferences and purchases to offer more of what the flyer might want or need during travel before they even ask.

SAS IBM iOS app.jpg

The Fast Fix app for Bosch BSH field engineers provide exactly what someone in that role would want: Schedules and maps to a repair site along with specific information to make the appliance repair as quickly as possible.

These are both cases of needing relevant, contextual information at the right time and place on a device that’s easy to carry. IBM isn’t trying to reinvent currently working business processes to make them fit on iPads and iPhones; instead, it’s figuring out which business process make sense on mobiles.

Along with the announcement of 100 apps, IBM also made an interesting statement about the next generation of MobileFirst software:

“IBM will integrate many future IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps with the cognitive capability of Watson, enabling the apps to continuously learn about the needs of employees and customers over time – effectively building on data with more use.”

That’s something that few, if any, other major software companies can provide while also building the apps: Big data analysis that can enable smarter decision making from the CEO right on down to workers in the field.

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