Dimension Data has unveiled a dedicated Apple practice to help businesses easily manage corporate apps and data across the Mac, iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.
The company said becoming a global system integration partner for Apple will merge the world's best user experience provided by Apple devices with full enterprise capabilities.
"Apple saw in us a missing piece of the puzzle in terms of getting into the large enterprise space," Joe Manuele, Dimension Data's group executive for customer experience and collaboration, told CRN USA. "We didn't date long before realising, 'Yeah, this could be a meaningful relationship.'"
The new practice will build on Dimension Data's strategic relationship with Cisco, allowing end users to access consulting, implementation, management and support around Cisco video and collaboration solutions on iOS.
Manuele said the Apple practice should be material for the entire US$8 billion corporation within the next couple of years.
Dimension Data is one of just five globally certified Cisco partners, Manuele said, and is one of the vendor's three largest collaboration partners in any given quarter. As Cisco Spark moves to iOS, Manuele said Dimension Data can provide the network assessments and enable the necessary LAN and network infrastructure to allow the joint products to be deployed in end user ecosystems.
By leveraging the new practice, Dimension Data said multinational organisations should be able to more easily align and integrate their existing enterprise solutions and systems with Apple's ecosystem while meeting corporate compliance requirements.
Dimension Data said it will accelerate the adoption of mobile devices in the enterprise space for Apple by providing managed mobility services. These services will address the configuration, control, support and security needs of end users and streamline integration and management complexities, according to the company.
The Apple business unit will include a worldwide team of Dimension Data network and systems engineers, as well as client service and support teams. Dimension Data will also open a 'Centre of Excellence' in the United States to showcase Apple products and demonstrate how they can be managed and maintained through the solution provider's endpoint lifecycle management offering.
Dimension Data plans to cross-train its application development workers supporting SAP HANA and its Cisco collaboration experts to get them involved in the Apple practice, Manuele said. From those two pretty strong hubs, Manuele said Dimension Data would scale its Apple practice on a country-by-country basis.
Dimension Data said its new service will simplify the secure deployment and management of iOS devices, and will include world-class support from installation throughout the life of the product. The company plans to open additional Centers for Excellence as part of a phased rollout globally.
The company expects to drive sales in its Apple practice from side-by-side selling and joint demand creation exercises with Apple, its close relationship with Cisco, and a shift from bring-your-own-devices to corporate-owned, personally-enabled devices.
The shift to corporate-owned mobility devices will allow Dimension Data provide wraparound ancillary services and manage them in the same way it does desktop devices, Manuele said.
Dimension Data's enterprise mobility services will include resale, configuration, provisioning, logistics, and help desk support. Ongoing device management, meanwhile, will cover everything from application provisioning and reporting to device repair and mobility analytics, according to the company.
The Dimension Data partnership comes nine months after global consultancy Deloitte launched a new Apple practice to expand the use of iPhone and iPads within the business world. Deloitte brought on more than 5000 strategic advisors as part of the new practice.
The Apple-Deloitte partnership included a new service aimed at developing custom iOS-related solutions for businesses. The service will involve the development of custom apps that integrate with ERP, CRM and other business platforms, the companies said.
Apple's Deloitte relationship will focus more on providing consulting services and recommendations to clients, Manuele said, while the Dimension Data relationships with Apple will include consulting, but also stretch to cover network design, configuration and implementation work.
"We'll get down and dirty to a level where Deloitte wouldn't necessarily go," Manuele said.