I spoke with the CEO of one of Apple’s most recently announced enterprise mobility partners, Sunil Patro, founder and CEO at SignEasy, to learn more about Apple’s commitment to enterprise technology – and the growing importance of India to the tech economy.
Apple is an enterprise company
Apple’s focus on enterprise computing is intensifying, much to the surprise of the old guard in IT, for whom Macs, iPads and iPhones will always be "toys", despite their proven effectiveness in the real world.
I believe it was the iPad that really drove Apple into the enterprise; that trickle has become a flood and it means you’ll find Apple platforms in most businesses today.
SignEasy was recently named an Apple mobility partner. Among other things, this means Apple’s enterprise developer relations worked with the company to help SignEasy become a better app for enterprises.
“We have deep respect for how Apple works with partners to ensure users are always given the best experience on Apple platforms," Patro said. "Their focus on beautiful product experiences trickles down to everything that they do, including this program, which makes us doubly honoured to be a part of it.
"More than half of our business customers use SignEasy on their iOS devices, and we expect that number to grow as we leverage our new status as an Apple mobility partner,” he explained.
Consumer-friendly apps for business pros
In today’s enterprise environment, it’s not appropriate to balkanise user experiences, offering different UIs across different platforms. What works on one device needs to work the same on other devices.
“Today’s business software solutions need to be optimised to work equally well on a mobile device, laptop computer or desktop computer. It also needs to integrate with other software solutions and systems at work where the exchange of data and files are as seamless as possible,” he said.
Design matters, too.
It’s not enough to have poorly designed solutions that work equally badly across platforms, the implementations need to be up to consumer standards — even for internal enterprise provisions.
“Poor design just doesn’t fly anymore,” he said. “With the proliferation of SaaS and ease of high-quality app development, consumers and businesses have innumerable options for digital solutions.
"Great design and user experience has become one of the biggest criteria that software can compete on, and more often than not becomes the deciding factor for a buyer because the end user demands it.”
Apple’s winning message
It seems clear that Apple’s enterprise appeal has always been, and continues to be, the attempt to provide superior user experiences. This gives it an advantage in a more digital economy.
“Apple wants to increasingly deliver more value to enterprise users because of their belief that the user should benefit from the same experience and delight that he or she is used to on their iPhones and iPads at work," Patro said. “Since they are one of the biggest consumer brands in the world, many of the enterprise users come across the iOS experience first in their personal lives.
“So these users automatically become the champions in their workplace for carrying their business tasks using an iPhone, iPad or Mac on the go. That’s why you will see programs like 'Apple at Work' being promoted in Retail Stores, Channel partners and also online on their website.”
Digital transformation, boosted productivity
I asked about other rising technology implementations, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA).
Patro admitted that his company is seeing tremendous adoption of RPA — customers come on board to use SignEasy as a SaaS solution for one department, and then learn the value of using the company’s APIs to create business-wide solutions to provide automated or simplified processes across their business.
“We have customers like Rappi who on-board thousands of restaurant partners every month on their website and they have eliminated the repetitive and mundane human work involved in getting the signed by automating that workflow using SignEasy," he added.
"In another example, we have customers like OnBlick with a SaaS solution for customers who simplify the HR processes required for compliance and onboarding of new employees."
Like many tech giants, Apple is becoming increasingly active in India, where SignEasy’s development center is based.
The importance of India
“Bangalore is also home to Apple’s app accelerator in India, the very first to open anywhere in the world, where Apple’s team works directly with app developers to build solutions on its platforms,” he noted. “This is a strong acknowledgement by Apple that it recognises the skill that exists in India, especially for developing solutions on its platforms."
He explained a little about how the tech industry is evolving in India, where demand for skilled and experienced developers is high.
“India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with the tech industry being one of the biggest contributors. India is also the largest off-shore destination for IT services, so technology skill-development is a big focus for the country.”
India is also investing in the industry: “Programming is being inculcated at the grassroots level, with kids learning to code in schools of all sizes and in the smallest of towns,” Patro explained.
I’ll be reporting extensively on Apple technologies in the enterprise in this week as I’ll be at JAMF Software’s annual JNUC event, the world’s largest event for Apple pros in enterprise IT. To keep up with news from this event, please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.