Tech giants Apple and IBM are joining forces to “transform enterprise mobility” with business apps that bring Big Blue’s big data and analytics power to the iPhone and iPad. Could this landmark partnership help Apple gain ground in the business world -- and help IBM gain ground with Apple users? If the partnership lives up to the hype it could be quite a coup for Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Together, the companies are working to address what they see as key mobility challenges. In doing so, they hope to spark a “true mobile-led business change” that is rooted in four core capabilities: a new class of over 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps; IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, such as device management, security, analytics and mobile integration; an AppleCare enterprise service and support offering; and packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Cook. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

Re-imagining Work

The partnership, dubbed the IBM MobileFirst for iOS agreement, will tap into the strengths of both companies. Specifically, IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities will be matched up with Apple’s customer service, hardware and software integration and developer platform. IBM has also committed to selling iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

Ginni Rometty, President, CEO and chairman of IBM, said mobility -- combined with the phenomena of data and cloud -- is transforming business and the technology industry in historic ways. She pointed to how these trends allow people to re-imagine work, industries and professions.

“This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services,” Rometty said. “We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

Apples and IBMs

The “made-for-business apps” will start rolling out in the fall of 2015. The companies are also working to deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability that spans analytics, workflow and cloud storage, fleet-scale device management, security and integration.

We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to get his take on the partnership. He told us what goes around, comes around.

“If we look back a few decades we see how Apple and IBM were fierce competitors in the computer space,” Kagan said. “Today Apple and IBM are partnering to grow in the business space. Incredible turn of events.”

It could be a match made in technology heaven, so to speak. Kagan noted that Apple is looking for growth in the business community for devices like iPhone, iPad and iCloud services -- and IBM is the company who can help Apple accomplish that goal.

“If you stick around long enough the moon is full once again, the tides are high once again, and Apple and IBM can now do business. Who would have guessed? The mobile and telecom space is one of the hottest growing segments,” Kagan said.

“Apple really has not done a great job on the business side of the market. That’s why this deal with IBM seems to make so much sense.”