If you know your Apple history and have seen the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, you’ll know that an alliance between Apple and IBM would seem somewhat unlikely. But today’s world is very different from that of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Which is why, during mid-2014, Apple and IBM announced a partnership that would see enterprise apps come to Apple’s mobile devices.
During December, the first wave of IBM MobileFirst applications became available with companies such as finance powerhouse Citi, Air Canada, communications firm Sprint and Mexican bank Banorte getting in on the early action.
The apps IBM has released aren’t simple front-ends for enterprise applications. They form part of a complex and secure enterprise computing environment that extends the reach of critical business applications.
The first tranche of applications covered a wide gamut of different business needs.
Travel and transportation
The travel and transportation industries can use Plan Flight to addresses the major expense of all airlines – fuel. It allows pilots to view flight schedules, flight plans and crew manifests ahead of time. They can report issues in-flight to ground crews, and make more informed decisions about discretionary fuel use.
They also get Passenger+, which allows flight crews to offer personalised services to passengers in-flight including special offers, re-booking and baggage information.
Banking and Financial Markets
Advise & Grow and Trusted Advice are MobileFirst apps for the banking and financial markets.
Advise & Grow lets bankers access client profiles and competitive analyses, gather analytics-driven insights to make personalised recommendations, and complete secure transactions once they securely authenticate back into host systems.
Trusted Advice allows advisors to access and manage client portfolios, gain insight from predictive analytics anywhere and at any time. It also allows advisors to test recommendations with sophisticated modelling tools before closing things out with complete, secure transactions.
The insurance industry gets Retention. This delivers access to customers’ profiles and history to agents. It includes an analytics-driven retention risk score as well as smart alerts, reminders and recommendations on next best steps and facilitation of key transactions like collection of e-signatures and premiums.
Case Advice addresses the issue of workload and support among caseworkers who are making critical decisions, one family or situation at a time, on the go. The solution adjusts case priorities based on real-time analytics-driven insights, and assesses risk based on predictive analysis.
Law enforcement agencies can use Incident Aware. This converts an iPhone into a crime prevention asset that presents law enforcement officers with real-time access to maps and video-feeds of incident locations. It also delivers information about victim status, escalation risk and crime history as well as the ability to call for back-up and supporting services.
Not surprisingly retail businesses are also targeted by IBM as mobile devices are already having a huge impact of customer service through new stock management tools and improved Point of Sale systems.
Sales Assist enables associates to connect with customer profiles, make suggestions based on previous purchases and current selections, check inventory, locate items in-store and ship out-of-store items.
Pick & Pack combines proximity-based technology with back-end inventory systems for transformed order fulfillment.
Tech support teams can use Expert Tech to better service clients. Using native iOS capabilities including FaceTime and location services for route optimisation, the app makes it easier to deliver superior on-site service, more effective issue resolution and productivity as well as improved customer satisfaction.