>Apple and Enterprise Architecture

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In Fortune Magazine, 17 March 2008, Apple was rated in Fortune the #1 most admired companies in America and in the world and it won the highest mark for innovation too.

“In an industry that changes every nanosecond, the 32-yer old company has time and again innovated its way out of the doldrums. Rivals always seem to be playing catch-up.”

And Apple certainly knows innovation and mass appeal. “Invention is the creation of something new. [But] innovation is the creation of something new that makes money; it finds a pathway to the consumer.” Apple is great at creating consumer hits–just think iPod, iPhone, and MacBook.

“The iPod is to music what Kleenex is to tissue or Xerox is to copiers.”

“Almost everything Apple makes transcends gender, geography, and race.”

In the last five years, “sales tripled to $24 billion and profits surged to $3.5 billion.”

What is Apple’s enterprise architecture (business and IT strategy)?

  • Thinking big—with Apple, the sky’s the limit or there really isn’t any limit at all; “every endeavor is a moon shot. Sometimes the company misses, but the successes are huge.”
  • Excellence—Apple has become “a symbol of innovation” and there is a huge “degree of perfectionism. Apple hires people that are never satisfied.”
  • Passion—“Emotive is a big word here. The passion is what provides the push to overcome design and engineering obstacles, to bring projects in on time.”
  • Focus—Apple is anti-diversification. They believe that when companies make too many products, they get “mired in the mediocre. Apple’s approach is to put every resource it has behind just a few products and make them exceedingly well.”
  • Consumer orientation—“We figure out what people want…we do no market research. We just want to make great products” for the masses. At Apple, they look at everyday consumer products and ask themselves what’s awful about them and how can they make them better.
  • Democratize technology—“Apple’s approach has always been to democratize technology in the belief that if you make something ‘really great’ then everybody will want to use it.”
  • Technology synthesis—“Apple’s the only company that has everything under one roof…not only do we control the hardware, but we control the operating system.” Apple does hardware and software and operating systems and “can tweed it all together and make it work seamlessly.”
  • Design genius—As a company, Apple is the master of consumer electronics design. “This is not just engineering and science. This is art too.” At Apple, they understand that function is enhanced by form, and that the consumer wants a good-looking gadget.

One of the biggest lessons for me from Apple is to never give up. For years, Apple trailed the computer market with the Mac holding only a 4% to 5% market share. But they kept innovating, developing and designing the best working and looking products. Now they’ve captured 70% market share with the iPod and are targeting sales this year of 10 million iPhones. Apple is a super company with business and technology planning that others can only look at in sheer awe with their mouths hanging open.

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