Apple pact with Deloitte threatens to eat Microsoft’s lunch in the workplace

29 Sep 2016

Apple is moving with speed into the productivity space that Microsoft considers sacred. Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Apple has allied with Deloitte to make iOS the dominant workplace technology, and Microsoft should be worried.

On the face of it, it looks like Deloitte is going to help Apple sell loads of iPhones and iPads. But if you delve deeper, you will see an enormous threat to Microsoft’s dominance of the productivity world.

Last night, Apple and Deloitte revealed a new pact that they say is designed to help companies achieve their digital transformation, with iOS the central spoke in the wheel of a mass iPad and iPhone sales drive.

Future Human

In a joint effort, Deloitte is creating a first-of-its-kind Apple practice with over 5,000 strategic advisers focused on the enterprise.

Think of it as the Apple Store in the guise of a consultant.

Apple doesn’t do things by halves. At its core, it is an extension of a similar long-term strategy that the Californian tech giant has embarked upon with IBM – once a bulwark of the Windows PC world – in the past two years, designed to dominate the enterprise world.

Apple’s enterprise ambitions represent an existential threat to Microsoft

“We know that iOS is the best mobile platform for business because we’ve experienced the benefit ourselves, with over 100,000 iOS devices in use by Deloitte’s workforce, running 75 custom apps,” said Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global.

“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 dedicated Deloitte/Apple practice will be known as Enterprise Next and will focus on over 20 vertical industries.

Its strategy will take the shape of a push on the use of iPad and iPhone devices as productivity devices. It will have workshops designed to rapidly prototype and build iOS productivity apps, and the use of Deloitte Digital Studios around the world will redesign existing ERP, CRM, analytics and HR platforms for the iOS app world.

This is quite similar to the recent emphasis on design at IBM, whereby platoons of designers are being recruited to reconfigure how the world and workers look at data and productivity.

“As the leader in digital transformation strategy, Deloitte is an ideal partner that brings a team of Apple-dedicated strategic advisers to help clients truly revolutionise how they work using iOS, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“iPhone and iPad are transforming how people everywhere get work done. And through this partnership, we’re able to help even more businesses tap into the incredible capabilities that only the Apple ecosystem can deliver,” Cook said.

If anything, the alarming speed of Apple’s sudden entry into the enterprise world should be a cause for concern for Microsoft, whose entire ethos hinges on productivity.

Though the Windows 10 desktop OS has been rapidly adopted by PC users, Microsoft has a failed $8bn takeover of Nokia to signify where it went wrong with mobile. And it is precisely in mobile where Apple plans to win.

While it’s true that Microsoft is unassailable in areas like Azure cloud, servers and virtualisation, it’s hard to ignore the reality that when it comes to getting things done, Apple is moving with speed and alacrity, threatening to eat Microsoft’s lunch in its most sacred of spaces: the workplace.

Deloitte. Image: Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years