The way banks, airlines, wireless carriers and even governments do business could soon change if Apple and IBM have anything to say about it. The two companies now have 10 apps designed to streamline business operations behind the scenes, which may lead to better service for the rest of us.
The new apps are the first wave in a lineup that’s expected to include up to 100 iOS apps for business. IBM is firmly entrenched in enterprise, while Apple’s presence in the halls of giant corporations has been largely unofficial, in the form of employees using their personal iPhones to send company emails. So the two companies partnered up in July to bring their complementary strengths to businesses on iOS.
One app called Incident Aware will give police a real-time look at maps and video from crime scenes, as well as information about victims and suspects, and better backup request capabilities.
Another, Sales Assist, is designed to help retail employees offer better service to shoppers by giving them access to customer profiles with past purchase history for improved recommendations. The app also helps staffers manage inventory.
Apple and IBM produced a pair of apps for airlines: Plan Flight for pilots offers a look at flight schedules, flight plans and crew manifests and the ability to report in-flight problems to crew on the ground. The other, Passenger+, gives flight crews information about passengers so they can tailor special offers to them.
Citi, Sprint, Air Canada and Banorte are the first four IBM clients using the apps at launch. Apple is offering AppleCare for Enterprise, a 24-hour customer service line, while IBM takes care of on-site issues.
The two companies will continue to release apps throughout 2015.
Why this matters: This isn’t the first time Apple has ventured into enterprise, or the first time the company has worked with IBM (remember the PowerPC?). The partnership is still in early days, but with IBM’s expertise in enterprise needs like data analytics and Apple’s deft design touch, IBM MobileFirst for iOS could become the enterprise suite of tools to beat – and make everyone’s lives a lot easier.
A brief look at the first 10
Plan Flight (Travel and Transportation)
Addresses the major expense of all airlines – fuel – permitting pilots to view flight schedules, flight plans and crew manifests ahead of time, report issues in-flight to ground crews and make more informed decisions about discretionary fuel.
Passenger+ (Travel and Transportation)
Empowers flight crews to offer an unmatched level of personalised services to passengers in-flight – including special offers, re-booking and baggage information.
Advise & Grow (Banking and Financial Markets)
Puts bankers on premise with their small business clients, with secure authorisation to access client profiles and competitive analyses, gather analytics-driven insights to make personalised recommendations and complete secure transactions.
Trusted Advice (Banking and Financial Markets)
Allows advisors to access and manage client portfolios, gain insight from powerful predictive analytics – in the client’s kitchen or at the local coffee shop, rather than the advisor’s office – with full ability to test recommendations with sophisticated modelling tools all the way to complete, secure transactions.
Empowers agents with access to customers’ profiles and history, including 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 (Government)
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.
Incident Aware (Government)
Converts an iPhone into a vital crime prevention asset, presenting law enforcement officers with real-time access to maps and video-feeds of incident locations; information about victim status, escalation risk and crime history; and improved ability to call for back-up and supporting services.
Sales Assist (Retail)
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 (Retail)
Combines proximity-based technology with back-end inventory systems for transformed order fulfilment.
Expert Tech (Telecommunications)
Taps into native iOS capabilities including FaceTime for easy access to expertise and location services for route optimisation to deliver superior on-site service, more effective issue resolution and productivity as well as improved customer satisfaction.