A quote from a recent Bloomberg regarding Apple's incursion into corporate sales:
...Not every company wants Apple to focus more on their needs. Fidelity’s Blunck would rather have Apple continue to make breakthrough consumer products that create new ways for its customers to use Fidelity’s services.
“I’ll take that all day long, versus having them spend all their time on enterprise’s needs,” he said…
What an interesting quote. Is it because this is the way the gentleman feels or is it because Apple is so stridently uncaring about corporate sales that he's only saying the obvious? Can one build a business targeting a market segment by ignoring that market segment? I smell a business book in the making!
I would caution you, however, that it's just another reason to ignore Apple as a beacon to your business success. I think we would all agree that Steve Jobs' rant-and-rave style of business leadership is not for everyone, probably no one. Their insane attention to detail even the detail we will never see, touch, feel or smell probably borders on the certifiable, and now we get this piece in Bloomberg about Apple conquering the business market buy ignoring it.
Yes it's true that by giving IT departments exactly what they want results in a lot of really boring gear (cough…Dell) and operating systems tightened down so tightly that it make's Apple's control of their iOS walled garden seem like the Garden of Eden. Apple gave up on mass corporate sales many years ago. It was a no-win, low margin game that they didn't want to play. That isn't to say that lots of companies haven't made lots of money cow-towing to IT requests, but it just wasn't the way Apple wanted to do business.
The one aspect to Apple's strategy that IS duplicable is that more and more we are buying into technology for personal use and when we don't see the same high level of polish at work we complain. We love our iPads at home. We told IT we wanted them at work. In fact it was probably the CEO who loved his/her new shiny object that dictated the change. IT hated this, of course, but over time it seems they have bought into the reality of consumer gadgets taking over from those designed expressly for corporate deployment.
The thing is the public demands rapid change, variety, cutting edge features; basically everything IT does not want. I am aware of one company whose IT department has only now certified Internet Explorer 8 as their corporate standard web browser. More and more employees are not standing for this regressive stance. Their work enjoyment is derived in large measure by intermixing work and play.
It's not like 10 years ago where many people's interaction with a computer was only at work. Now we have iPhones and Android phones and Blackberries. These are computers in our pockets. Many want to be connected all the time. And if we have bad-ass computer systems at home we are none too pleased having to pound on a Compaq 386 when we get to work.
Apple has made other moves to ease corporate buying. The company rolled out a volume purchasing program, letting businesses place large orders for iPad apps, rather than requiring each employee to go to iTunes and enter a code and their own credit card number. So they aren't being completely intransigent. They're just doing it on their terms.
More and more the consumer rules. Is your product, service or platform consumer-friendly? Perhaps, even if the consumer is not your target market, you should make sure it is consumer-friendly.