If you are in the IT department of any insurance company, you probably get calls, emails and mailers from any one of the large IT vendors – IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Cisco and EMC to name a few, not to mention the insurance-specific technology companies. But how many solicitations do you get from Apple?
Probably nowhere near as much as you hear from the others, if you hear from Apple at all. Yet, your company is probably crawling with Apple sales representatives. Not paid representatives, mind you, but your employees, many of whom are Apple customers (who are more powerful sales representatives than any other vendors' rep forces combined). Your employees bring in and use Apple devices every day of the week. In fact, the professional vendor salespeople who make calls on your company every week also probably bring Apple devices with them to help with their pitches.
Talk about succeeding in the enterprise without even trying. The largest companies in the world have very aggressive enterprise strategies. They have entire segments of their salesforces committed to selling into the enterprise. They have versions of their products that are built at enterprise-strength.
Apple, on the other hand, as far as I can tell, does not have an enterprise strategy. Steve Jobs, in fact, once famously expressed his distaste for the enterprise. It builds products for individuals and consumers, period. Yet, it is projected to have more of an impact in the enterprise than any other vendor. It is shaking up the end-user, client-side segment in a way not seen since the dawn of the PC in the early 1980s. Its devices are probably becoming just as ubiquitous in office environments as Windows PCs.
In short, while others have spent millions and billions selling into the corporate market, Apple has succeeded in the enterprise without even trying.
A new study out of Forrester Research projects that enterprise spending on Apple products will jump 58 percent this year, to $19 billion on iPads and Macs. This is up from around $12 billion last year, and spending will rise to $28 billion in 2013.
What is Apple doing where other vendors are struggling? The company is seen to be been driven by an almost obsessive vision on making computing affordable, accessible, easy and even fun to everyone on the planet. Their articulated goal has been to improve the way we live and work. For sure, Apple is happy to rake in the money. But it occupies a higher space in peoples' minds.
For many vendors, there often is no discernible philosophy behind their products, other than to grind something out as cheaply as possible, and to sell it at as high a margin as possible. Rightly or wrongly perceived, that view has always been a source of tension between vendors and enterprises, creating a contentious negotiating game every year. Apple prefers to let its customers do the selling.
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
Readers are encouraged to respond to Joe using the “Add Your Comments” box below. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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