Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

Summary: Apple is investing on its partner network, direct sales and support in an effort to take advantage of enterprise and small business interest in the iPad and iPhone.

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TOPICS: Health, Apple, iPad, Mobility
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Apple is investing on its partner network, direct sales and support in an effort to take advantage of enterprise and small business interest in the iPad and iPhone.

This week, Apple's iPod and Apple TV products dominated the headlines, but there are also a lot of emerging signs that Steve Jobs & Co. are showing enterprise gains.

Let's recap a few of the Apple enterprise highlights that were easy to overlook this week:

  • Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said in a research note that Apple was increasing "efforts to drive greater penetration into Enterprise and SMB accounts."
  • Whitmore's research note was based on meeting with Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and retail head Ron Johnson. These Apple execs noted that Apple is "increasing its investment in the VAR channel, direct sales capacity and Apple Care to support its enterprise goals."

  • As previously reported, the iPad is gaining real traction in the enterprise. Whitmore wrote:

Apple has been pleasantly surprised by the strength of iPad in Enterprise and seems to be benefiting from demand pull/halo effect of the iPad and iPhone with corporate customers. In addition, Apple is optimistic the large number of enterprise customer briefings it conducts will translate into additional corporate penetration.

  • IT pros are actively pondering the iPad as management tool. The scuttlebutt coming out of VMworld this week was that IT admins are talking about running their consoles off of iPads. Also: 10 free iPad apps for business (photos)

  • Vertical markets like healthcare are actively checking out the iPad. If you peruse Apple's enterprise support forums you find a bevy of enterprise topics. One key forum revolved around Citrix (right), the iPad and electronic medical records (EMRs). The iPad wasn't perfect in the hospital setting, but was largely seen as a replacement for tablet PCs and laptops. In any case, Apple is actively targeting doctors.

Here's one use case from Aug. 30:

I use iTap to remotely control my desktop computer (which is a iMac running Windows 7 under parallels) to allow access to my EMR, my hospital PACS (picture archiving and communications system) and hospital EMR. It (iPad) works great as tool for accessing information. Input is great if you are using templates. Keyboard typing is not as accurate but I usually go back and dictate the HPI in Dragon anyway. When I am out of the office and in the hospital, I use Logmein to access my desktop as our hospital Wifi does not allow VPN connection. Logmein uses encryption so it is HIPAA compliant. When I remote into my office computer, I have Parallels set as a bridged network. This allows me to access my Windows side of the computer without turning off the screen saver on the Mac side. That way anyone who might be sitting at my desk cannot see what I am doing. I am using eClincalWorks for my EMR.

Although our hospital has EPIC, the older Citrix Servers we have are not compatible with the iPad Citrix client so I have to still use remote access via Logmein to my desktop computer for the hospital EMR. It works fine over a Wifi network.

The nice thing about this setup is I can bring an XR image up as I am talking to my patients in the office or at the bedside. The battery life and portability of the iPad beats my Lenovo tablet and Dell laptop hands down.

Add it up and it's obvious that Apple is cranking up its interest in the enterprise. You'll just never hear about it.

Related: Forrester: Apple's iPhone, iPad secure enough for enterprises, but RIM rules security roost

Topics: Health, Apple, iPad, Mobility

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37 comments
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  • ABAers are going to whine about this as a plug

    to Apple.<br><br>Regardless of what anyone thinks about Apple, the iPad is a compelling form factor. It will be really interesting to see what other OEM's come up with in terms of competition running Android OS or even HP's WebOs. If MSFT drags their butt along the carpet too long, aside from the chapped @ss, they are going to miss out on a compelling market again.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • Just as if....

      @JM1981

      I had written your post myself, except I would have capitalized "again". :-)
      Economister
      • RE: Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

        @Economister
        Me too. Except I would have left off the OEM's apostrophe.
        kenift
    • Not so much news

      If anyone at ZD cared to look, Apple has had Enterprise resources on their website for a long time.<br><br>As always, the real Enterprise problem (and I fought the battle from the inside for years) was that anything that threatened the status quo (control!) by the group called Information Systems or Information Technology or any similar names, would be resisted, sabotaged, trivialized--whatever it took to keep the current top manager of that group in place and growing his team, for his own financial benefit. Over the years, many more cost-cutting and "speed up" initiatives came from internal user groups, not the IS/IT groups.

      A technique that usually worked, at some political risk, was to go up high enough in the hierarchy to remind IS/IT just who their clients were--and who actually generated the revenue that paid their salaries. Once it was mainframes, then minicomputers, then Windows desktops. Now people that see real tactical and strategic benefits, at lower costs, with smartphones, the iPad, etc., are facing the same embedded attitudes.

      This is the real test of a top executive--can she or he encourage bottom-up thinking that can change how the company gets things done, to better serve their customers and build the business and profits.
      frabjous
      • RE: Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

        @frabjous <i>can she or he encourage bottom-up thinking that can change how the company gets things done</i> Good luck with that one. IT VP will never move. Would rather use all the political connexions to get the guy with the idea fired before.
        minardi
    • RE: Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

      @JM1981
      Android can never be a factor in these markets since it is full of Google spyware. Privacy concerns must preclude it.
      jorjitop
    • The iPad/iPhone are too walled-off to be useful.

      Look at the ridiculous workaround highlighted in this article: the doctor using remote-access software to control Windows running in a virtual machine on a Mac somewhere! Why does he have to do this and suffer the inevitably poor performance of such a setup? Because Apple has crippled its platform to the point where it's a glorified game-player and iPod. The inability to get information onto and off of these devices undermines their capability so severely that one must question the point in developing serious applications for them.

      Not only can you not share information between an iPad/iPhone and a computer that it's physically connected to (WTF), but you can't even use peer-to-peer wireless networking as a workaround. Both devices still have to be connected to the same centralized network.

      Then there are the potential physical devices that are ruled out by Apple's blocking of access to the dock connector on these devices. Where are all the interesting and innovative hardware devices that should have come along in the last three years? There are very, very few; and those that exist are probably using some analog workaround to Apple's preposterous "approval" process for gaining access to the hardware connector.

      Apple lives in its own world, where it doesn't have to compete or create tools that make people more productive. Their success is abetted by legions of apologists and lazy "reviewers" and "observers" who perpetually laud the "elegance" of Apple's products without actually trying to use them for anything.

      It's all very, very tired at this point.
      dgurney
  • Interesting what the #1 usage of iPad is

    We keep hearing from the Apple zealots that Windows 7 tablets must be a fail because point and click UI can't work on a touch device. Yet what do we see as the #1 business use above? iTap (remote desktop so iPad can run Windows apps) and Citrix (remote access so iPad can run Windows apps). But... but... but... those Windows apps you are accessing on your iPad all have point and click interfaces!! Huh, guess all you Apple zealots are liars.
    NonZealot
    • Behold Million Man Math.

      One example use case becomes the #1 business use.

      The prediction that Windows 7 tablets will fail is based on past empirical evidence with other Windows tablets. The Windows 7 UI is not significantly different from previous Windows UIs.
      frgough
    • The reason in my mind is that

      @NonZealot

      Windows simply requires too much in the way of resources to make for a truly portable all day (12hrs) battery life device. Unless MS can make Windows run well on iPad level HW, this will be their Achilles heel.

      The argument raised by some people that "W7 runs fine on my netbook" is simply irrelevant. A "netbook based" tablet would weigh about twice as much as an iOS/Android tablet to get all day battery life. Unless you really need Windows, the penalty is simply unacceptable. I think MS is in a real bind here unless they can pull a rabbit out of the hat with WP7.
      Economister
      • This I can agree with

        @Economister
        [i]Unless MS can make Windows run well on iPad level HW, this will be their Achilles heel.[/i]

        And this is the #1 problem with putting Windows 7 on a tablet. The blabber about UI is just that, ignorant FUD. We will see if MS and the hardware makers can work their way around this one.

        I personally would like to see a choice. I don't see why we can't have tablets with slightly reduced battery times but a full OS on them AND tablets with a slimmed down OS that loses their Windows compatibility. The 2 aren't mutually exclusive options.
        NonZealot
      • RE: Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

        @Economister

        I have a Vaio VPCX13 with Windows7. Extremely thin, lightweight (1.6 pounds), with 4 hours of battery life that for another pound (bigger battery) extends to an all day 19 hours. It's not going to win any performance awards but it's a great mobility device. It's one cool, quiet, thin laptop.

        The average iPad user spends $800 or more on an iPad, not including the apps and data plans. This laptop with more storage is $1500. So nominally twice as much. But then it's a full PC with a webcam, keyboard, multi-tasking, bluetooth, usb, runs the full web including flash and Silverlight etc. And over one year of ownership, the 3G iPad can cost a full $490 more than a WiFi device.

        As devices are getting smaller, lighter and cheaper, the typical inexpensive netbooks of the very near future will be amazing mobility devices that surpass the VPCX13 in performance. Size will hit the wall eventually not due to technology but to durability and ergonomics (a much thinner and lighter device of these dimensions might just be too fragile).
        kevinatlarge
      • RE: Apple getting serious about enterprise, SMB accounts

        @Economister "...real bind here..." what bind? This is a niche market. We have these at work; in fact I have one myself. They are a "consumer" device, with some basic input capability. For that area this is a very nice tool, I don't think MS is in any bind here. If the OEM can bind the basic W7 with a good hardware platform it's even better, but again right now it's a niche. We have given these to our sales people in key areas. They are great sales tools, presentations, for a one-on-one situation, and showing our latest Ads and bill boards etc. They work great. That's it the sales people do not use them for input. They HATE them for input, but while they are out if they need to consume - i.e. a report, and they have connectivity (a big issue), then they are great. Put a nice tablet with a keyboard and a full OS that can do something well then you have the best of both worlds. Sorry I don't understand the garbage "...MS is in a real bind here...", and it doesn't make any sense especially if you work in a enterprise office not a mom-pop shop.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • It isn't that Windows 7 can't be a slate style OS

      @NonZealot... It just has some serious limitations when it comes to multi-touch technology.

      One major issue is the fact that the OS really isn't designed with multi-touch as a "Primary" means of input. Sure it can be accomplished with a bolt on, and even in your "Business Case" the multi-touch functionality is not taking place on the box being remoted to, but rather from the local device, the iPad, and the commands are being translated, and has nothing to do with the capability of the remote system.

      Even the TouchSmart PC's the multi-touch capability is a bolt on, not built into the native OS. There is some touch capability built in but it would seem that it is limited, and that for some tasks a stylus is still required.

      What MSFT needs to do, even to make a desktop OS capable of running on a similar form factor is to stop considering touch as a add on functionality, and make it a primary means.

      All three mice, keyboard, and multitouch can be builtin as a primary means of input.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • All UI is a bolt-on so you are wrong

        @JM1981
        First off, [b]all[/b] UI is a bolt-on unless your OS has the GUI built into the kernel, something none of the major consumer OSs do. So right there, your whole post is negated. Your complaint that multi-touch isn't the "primary" means of input into an OS simply doesn't pass the sniff test. Remember, and remember well, that iOS is OS X (as you all keep reminding us) and so multi-touch was bolted on there too. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, Apple has made it work. [b]You[/b] are suggesting bolt-on multi-touch is a bad thing. You are wrong. Apple proves you wrong.

        Now, I will agree that applications can be written such that they don't work well with a touch input (single or multi) but from the #1 use case above, it doesn't seem to be bothering anyone since they are accessing those very same applications from their iPads through remote access. Again, your complaints don't pass the sniff test. People [b]are[/b] using the Windows 7 UI on their iPads.

        [i]and that for some tasks a stylus is still required.[/i]

        Please don't lie about things you've never used. A stylus is provided to support handwriting and fine drawing, not because any aspect of the OS requires it. Stop spreading the FUD. It isn't becoming of you.

        To summarize:
        - All UI is bolted on. Your requirement that multi-touch be "builtin" makes absolutely no sense.
        - People [b]are[/b] using the Windows 7 UI on their iPads.
        - FUD about the stylus is just that: FUD. Stop it.
        NonZealot
      • We have several Tablets running Windows 7

        @JM1981, a stylus is required. Spew all the crap you want, facts don't change.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • So do we, stylus not required

        @JM1981
        Why would anyone believe an MS hater like you?
        NonZealot
    • number two

      @NonZealot ((( "Yet what do we see as the #1 business use above?" )))

      The article doesn't say what the #1 business use of the iPad is. You're a liar.
      buddhistMonkey
    • Funny...

      @NonZealot

      If nothing else, it is funny to watch you squirm when Apple success stories are written. It's funny how insecure and defensive you become. Oh my goodness, iPads are getting penetration in the enterprise market. Quick, write some feeble post to make yourself feel better... ;-) Relax, Microsoft is still in business.
      techconc
  • Not so sure I buy the VAR thing

    Direct sales and AppleCare for Enterprise makes sense, but I can't see Steve thinking anyone else can [i]add value[/i] to one of his products. Especially with iOS devices, where's the ability to add any value? Apple got badly burned on the whole "VAR channel to big business" back in the 90s. Hell, part of the logic behind the Apple Store, both website and brick-and-mortar, was to reduce reliance on third party sales by making it so easy no one has to go through anyone else.
    matthew_maurice