The way how, when, and what we work is a key research area for us at Constellation Research, that we call ‘Future of Work’ (FoW). As such we track the events in the industry that may affect the FoW – and one key player in the space are technology vendors, e.g. Apple given the pervasiveness of iOS powered devices in the enterprise and its popularity with today’s workers.
On the Apple earnings call on April 27th we heard a hidden ‘nugget’ of information in the prepared statement of Apple CFO Luca Maestri mentioned the following in its prepared statements: [14:30 into the conference call]
In fact we are seeing very high interest from companies, who want to transform how work gets down. […] In addition to IBM we are working closely with more than 2 dozen other leading software and solution providers, including Box, Docusign, Microstrategy, Revel and Servicemax – to bring a broad range of innovative mobile solutions to more customers on iPad.
In the past the problem with working across software portfolio has been integration of the different products that enterprises needed to integrate. If Chief Human Resource Officers are polled today what their largest problems are, software integration makes the Top 3 issues – all the time. And integration has not really been solved by the cloud, as integration between cloud based products can break the same way as it used to break on premise.
Integration tools have been traditionally built for IT workers and system integrators, not really empowering the business user to integrate solutions by themselves. Instead of that business users / owners had to wait for IT, consultants, vendors, system integrators being ready – or ready again – with their integration working. During the wait time business owners face funding costs and delays in getting best practices implemented for their enterprises.
So to who did Apple turn to solve this integration problem? Not to the traditional vendors in the space, but surprise, to a startup called Workato, located (no surprise) in Silicon Valley. Workato makes it easy and intuitive for a business end user to connect the relevant business applications they need – in a do it yourself (DIY) fashion.
Workato itself is a modern platform that has all the attributes of a next generation product, it uses the cloud, can elastically scale, uses a consumer grade UI and can be used on the go, in a mobile or tablet environment.
Implications for the Future of Work
- End user empowerment becomes real – even mobile. DIY style integration is becoming real with this partnership, and even more conveniently, on popular iOS devices - on the go if needed.
- Ease of Use wins the integration game. Business (end) users can now create the integrations they need and want to build.
- The Business owns the integration. Ownership of integration used to be fragmented between vendors, system integrators, IT and the business – now it is close to be in business hands only (granted with help of the vendor and a platform like Workato’ s).
MyPOVWorkato working with Apple is a major breakthrough for end user empowerment, which in almost all enterprise software categories is the ‘holy grail’ vendors are looking for. With that end users will experience the power but also the challenges of owning integration themselves – spanning from the beauty and elegance of a working integration to the alarming call in the middle of the night about a broken integration. So it will not always be easy for business, but empowerment will certainly win over in the short and long term. Workato working with Apple dramatically lowers the ‘integration tax’ for business users – so congrats to both vendors and the best of luck.