Apple Computers Taking Hold in the Enterprise
While Microsoft certainly can't complain about Windows' market share in the enterprise, there are some signs pointing to the rise of Apple computers in this space. Apple has a long road ahead of them, but there are plenty of reasons to believe that more and more businesses will start choosing Macs, putting IT departments in a bit of a bind as they will be forced to support two different computing ecosystems.
Apple Computers in the Enterprise
The new information about enterprise Macs comes from Gartner analyst Michael Silver, as quoted in CIO. Silver claims that while Macs only take up about five percent of current businesses machines, that is a number that is slowly growing.
Price has always been one of the largest factors in keeping Macs out of the workplace, according to Apple Insider, but that may no longer be true. Macs now cost just a little bit more than PCs to set up, and Mac software is still a little more expensive, but average IT labor costs are considerably lower for Apple computers. It should be noted that the survey where this cost information came from found that these costs varied greatly between enterprises.
Apple itself hasn't made any serious outward moves into this market, but it isn't standing still. The company quietly released a security document in May that answered a number of questions about the security features on Apple computers and devices. While this move was made without fanfare or even a press release, it shows that the company is ready to handle the biggest hurdles in today's IT world.
As for IT managers simply refusing to support Apple computers, as many have for quite a while, that may all be coming to an end. Says Silver, "Saying, 'no' could be a career-ending decision."
A Shift in Enterprise Computing
With the growth of Apple computing products in the consumer market, it's not surprising at all to see the company's products in other sectors catching on. People's computing habits wind up getting driven by their computing ecosystem, and for years, that was Windows at the home and the office. Now, with iPods, iPhones and iPads introducing people to the Apple ecosystem, it isn't difficult to see why people would then respond positively to the idea of using a Mac. This shift is only going to gain momentum as Apple products continue to dominate in the consumer space.
The rise of Macs in the office could put midsize businesses in a bit of a bind. Large enterprises should have the resources to handle both types of computers, and small-business employees should readily understand the need for the business to choose one system over the other. Midsize business can easily find themselves stuck in the middle, as employees figure that the company is large enough to start demanding the computing solution they want to use.
When these "employees" include the CEO and other top executives, who are adopting the iPad and iPhone at remarkable rates, it literally becomes impossible to say no.
IT managers at these firms need to see the writing on the wall. While Windows will certainly continue to be the dominant OS for business computers, Macs can no longer be ignored. Making preparations now for the eventual support of Apple computers by simply allowing a handful of employees with non-critical tasks to adopt the computer of their choice, could make life that much easier in the future when the decision of whether or not to support Macs is taken out of your hands.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.