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Apple, IBM Partnership Equals Big Data Analytics on iPhone, iPad

The two companies have released the first wave of IBM MobileFirst for iOS Apps, to help businesses and government redefine how work gets done.

A new analytics venture pairs Apple’s lineup of popular mobile devices with IBM’s penchant for enterprise tech.

The platform partnership, called “IBM MobileFirst for iOS,” was announced on Dec. 10, and targets customers in both the public and private sectors. Likewise, the union of the tech giants recognizes Apple’s pervasive reach with devices such as its iPad and iPhone lines while capitalizing on IBM’s acumen for cloud analytics.

The first suite of apps — fashioned with user-friendly mobile dashboards and interfaces — delivers analytics for six different industries: transportation, finance, insurance, retail, telecommunications and government.

Two apps, one for law enforcement and the other geared toward social services, represent IBM’s offering for government. The first, “Incident Aware,” describes itself as a way to inform police officers with incident maps and video feeds, victim status reports, escalation risk estimations, crime history data, and communications for back-up and support.

And social workers are the likely users for its broadly defined “Case Advice” app, which aims to deliver assistance in the way of workflow management, according to IBM. The app prioritizes cases based on real-time analytics, potential risks involved and data-driven analysis of services.

Despite the suite’s modest amount of applications — currently at 10 — IBM stated that growth is expected as enterprise customers lean on the platform for customizable apps and to help with on-the-go access to enterprise software.

“This is a big step for iPhone and iPad in the enterprise [market], and we can’t wait to see the exciting new ways organizations will put iOS devices to work," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The business world has gone mobile, and Apple and IBM are bringing together the world’s best technology with the smartest data and analytics to help businesses redefine how work gets done.”

As a contextual side note to the companies’ announcement, the new services complement a trend in mobile-friendly analytics for enterprise. In October, the data management company SalesForce unveiled its own SalesForce Analytics platform for cloud-based enterprise solutions — with mobile and simplified dashboards as major features.

Additionally, in a study of 150 federal IT professionals, the government IT networking group MeriTalk estimates that federal agencies could save 14 percent with analytics programs, or nearly $500 billion per year. Technology research firm Gartner adds to these metrics, forecasting that by 2015, demand for data and analytics jobs will reach 4.4 million globally, only one-third of which will be filled.

Jason Shueh is a former staff writer for Government Technology magazine.