Apple in the enterprise: Do the extra costs justify the value?

Apple in the enterprise: Do the extra costs justify the value?

Summary: If you wanted a gauge of the technology executive interest in Apple's role in the enterprise all you needed to see was this presentation at the Gartner Symposium conference in Orlando. But does Apple really add value to a corporation?

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If you wanted a gauge of the technology executive interest in Apple's role in the enterprise all you needed to see was this presentation at the Gartner Symposium conference in Orlando.

Simply put, the rather large ballroom was packed and seats weren't available. Last year, there was a groundswell of interest around Google Apps. This year's flavor appears to be Apple. "Everyone is trying to figure out supporting the iPhone and pondering the iPad," said one IT exec in the crowd. In addition, the majority of the room---90 percent or so---in a show-of-hands vote said that IT should actively support Apple products.

Not bad for a company that doesn't actively target the enterprise or support it. Gartner fashioned its Apple riff as a debate with voter participation. The biggest takeaway is that technology managers want Apple to support its products in the enterprise.

It's a bit fuzzy whether IT managers want support because they are actively choosing Apple or that they have no choice as employees bring their iPads and iPhones to work. One thing was clear: This wasn't some Apple fanboy crowd you'd find on the West Coast. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said he gets 500 to 600 calls a year about the iPhone and the iPad has quickly caught up. "I've never seen anything like this," said Dulaney.

He noted that the Office of the President called Dulaney about using the iPad. Dulaney said he asked: "What about security?" The reply: "We have that covered. Don't worry."

Gartner analyst Michael Silver also said those increased calls are spilling over to the desktop. In a nutshell, CIOs are calling about supporting the Mac OS because they feel like they have to. A few years ago, those calls were about keeping the Mac OS out of the environment. "There's a point coming where companies have to support the Mac," said Silver. "Some companies have adopted a don't ask, don't tell policy for the Macs. We're getting to the point where you have to support multiple devices."

However, Gartner analyst Bill Clark wasn't sold. He said that Apple has had a few near security misses and largely has benefited from its smaller market share. Clark also added that the iPad's lack of support for Flash was a big issue for one pharma company, which had its training and sales video in Adobe's Web video technology.

Ultimately, diversity brings more costs to the company. Gartner analyst Mark Margevicius said that customers are adding more support for the Apple. Those extra people raise costs. "When you add diversity you have to question the value that is gain," said Margevicius. "For most people this (Windows vs. Mac) is a religious battle. Does Apple really add value to the enterprise?"

Margevicius' main point: PCs are a commodity and companies are rightly seeing them as important as another box of paper clips. "When Apple sells a PC at a 30 percent to 40 percent premium you really have to question the value," said Margevicius. He added that enterprises don't exist to give every user a Lamborghini when a GM vehicle gets the job done.

According to Gartner's panel, Windows still matters the most to the enterprise, but IT is nearing a crossover point where the OS becomes a neutral factor. Windows applications will fad into the background as OS agnostic apps and browser-based tools take over. The tipping point: 2012. Meanwhile, enterprises will be cleaning out Windows apps as they prepare for Windows 7 migration. As those Windows apps are cleared out, more OS neutral versions will replace them.

More from Gartner's Symposium:

Gartner's main conclusion is that companies want employees happy and productive and that may mean Apple. Now that the iPhone supports Microsoft tools like Exchange the hurdle rate for Apple is much lower. The downside is that there's no enterprise support from Apple.

The case for Macs is a little more dicey relative to the iPhone. Consumerization is bringing Macs into the corporate fold and virtual machines are making Windows app a reality. However, there's no enterprise support or roadmap from Apple. Toss in high costs and the Mac is a hard sell.

Add it up and Gartner concludes that Apple's share in the enterprise will roughly double. However, Android may look more like the ultimate pick for corporations.

Bottom line: There will be heterogeneous environments so tools like desktop virtualization and Citrix's Receiver will matter more. Invest to support multiple devices.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, CXO, IT Priorities, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Apple in the enterprise: Do the extra costs justify the value?

    Support a device that is not authorized? That's nuts. In our company, if IT didn't issue it to you then you aren't using it on the network. Also it must be able to be locked down.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Wow!! I agree 100%

      @Loverock Davidson Unauthorized devices accessing a network are a liability for any company. Not only can a personal devices introduce viruses into a control environment, also the on-line personal habits of the employee can open up a legal can of worms for the company.<br><br>If it is not a fully controlled device with corporate IT approval, it should never be allowed to touch the network.
      wackoae
      • Which of course explains away...

        Why Microsoft's wares have ever been let near these "secure corporate networks." It's not as though Microsoft itself or the corporate admins that design and implement security strategy have been more than a hindrance to most cracks that mean it.
        zkiwi
    • I agree as well

      @Loverock Davidson If it's not an IT issued product then it cannot and will not access the network.
      athynz
    • That works both ways

      @Loverock Davidson <br><br>I bring my own computer to the office every day. It runs XP Pro or OS-X with a VM for Win7 and Office 2010. I connect it to the "enterprise" LAN only to occasionally collect OutLook/Exchange messages. Other than this connectivity, the LAN is useless. Our bandwidth to the Internet for software updates is abysmally small and roughly half the rate of my Verizon WWLAN connection and less than 1/10th of my bandwidth at home. The LAN policies that they implement make everyday work flow untenable. This is the price paid for the attitude you express, namely that anyone using networks services must be a complete idiot and hellbent on creating a serious security issue. So instead, they make it impossible for knowledgeable professionals to do their job by ensuring that nothing gets broke because nothings actually works.<br><br>As for letting the nincompoop MSCEs have access to my Windows installations via a Domain connection, forget about it. I use much better security practices and software than they provide, like the corporate McAfee that bricked my supervisor's laptop. I buy all my own computer hardware and software and manage it very well. What I don't need (and have had to deal with in the recent past) is a low paid overhead sucking MSCE deciding that my anti-virus should update and scan my computer every Tuesday at 2:00PM while I count ceiling tiles for about an hour...
      jacarter3
      • I doubt the IT department have any MCSEs

        @jacarter3
        If IT was as bad as you say at your company then they probably can't afford MCSEs.

        If these folks are low paid and say they are MCSEs then they are probably lying.
        Stark_Industries
      • Well they do

        @Stark_Industries

        And these guys are in the bottom third of our pay grades. You make it sound like having a MSCE is something special. I hate to break it to you, but it's not, not by a long shot.
        jacarter3
      • @Stark_industries: Didn't you read his post? They didn't hire MCSEs

        They hired MSCEs, whatever those are. Had they hired MCSEs, things would run much better.

        The irony of someone who doesn't even know the correct acronym complaining about incompetence in his IT department was not lost on me. It sounds to me like jacarter3 [b]doesn't[/b] know enough about computers to be trusted by his IT department.
        NonZealot
      • Power user?

        @jacarter3

        You are exactly the kind of user that causes the most problems on my network. You're the guy that figures he's smarter than the folks that maintain the network, so damn them all to he** I'll do whatever I want. You bring in viruses, add security risks to the network, make the company more vulnerable to lawsuits (who knows what is on your machine), and then come complaining because of problems with the 'stupid' network. Trust me, if you were on my network you'd get reported so fast your pretty little head would spin.
        boomchuck1
      • Exactly right boomchuck1

        [i]You're the guy that figures he's smarter than the folks that maintain the network, so damn them all to he** I'll do whatever I want.[/i]

        The irony is that if one of those MCSEs tried to tell jacarter3 how to do his job, I bet you that jacarter3 would [b]FLIP OUT FROTH AT THE MOUTH SCREAM YELL JUMP UP AND DOWN[/b].
        NonZealot
      • Okay - I transposed 2 letters for Microsoft Cerified systems Engineer

        @jacarter3 <br><br>That's so important. I figured I get your response. Just amazed it took you so long to step up to the plate.<br><br>And yes I knew that people would claim that I know nothing about computers. You can go believing that all you want. <br><br>But I know that MCSE is just a piece of paper and anyone can spend less than $2000 and get the very same piece of paper. and what do you know then? Nothing other than what MS tells you to know which obviously has little to do with security and more about how to keep their servers from failing.<br><br>Oh at @boomchuck1 - My "IT" folks know all about my computer. And I am willing to bet hard cash that your computer has more legal liabilities than anything on mine. I have nothing but properly purchased and licensed software and media content on any computer in my possession. Oh and BTW, I was managing Windows NT Servers 15 years ago when you were probably still wondering how to get a date in High School =)<br><br>Thanks for the amusing trolls. Have a nice day!
        jacarter3
      • @NonZealot

        A MCSE tell me how to do my job? Go ahead and tell me please...

        They, like you, couldn't even begin to understand my job. But believe whatever you wish. I know very well that I would never be able to enlighten the dark cavern that comprises your skull...
        jacarter3
      • Thanks jacarter3, EXACTLY my point

        @jacarter3
        [i]They, like you, couldn't even begin to understand my job.[/i]

        This is [b]exactly[/b] my point. I'm sure I [b]couldn't[/b] understand your job, whatever it happens to be. I'll be the first to admit it but by doing so, I only enforce my point. Your attitude is that you feel free to tell MCSEs how to do their job because 15 years ago, you read a book on NT. This is [b]exactly[/b] like me telling you how to do your job because I read a book on your subject matter 15 years ago.

        Are there idiot MCSEs? Of course there are, just like there are idiots in all professions, even yours. I just find it [b]hilarious[/b] that you get so [b]UPSET[/b] at the thought of someone telling you how to do your job when that is exactly what you admitted to doing in your first post. And something tells me that if you are the cause of a security breach, you'll be the first to blame IT and Windows, even though it was 100% your fault.
        NonZealot
      • No - I am telling you that I know as much or more than most MCSE

        @NonZealot

        "[i]I just find it hilarious that you get so UPSET at the thought of someone telling you how to do your job...[/i]"

        So far no one has told me how to do my job. And as far as I can tell, I haven't told anyone else how to do theirs. And your claim that '[i]if you are the cause of a security breach, you'll be the first to blame IT and Windows[/i]" is laughable because I have never had a security breach. And only an idiot ever would. I never even thought someone with as little skill at making a point as you are, would be the source of a breach. Gee maybe I over-estimated you after all...

        "[i]because 15 years ago, you read a book on NT[/i]" That's funny! How old were you 15 years ago anyway?

        And I actually did manage a NT Server complete with Services for Macintosh with a 10Base2 Ethernet and AppleTalk for my employer (a Mac user) around 1994-5. I also beta tested NT 3.1, 3.5 and 4.0. I have also installed and managed Windows 2000 Adv Server and SBS 2003. So thanks for caring NZ....
        jacarter3
      • HILARIOUS!!! Thanks for admitting that you have no clue.

        @jacarter3
        [i]And I actually did manage a NT Server[/i]

        Wow, you managed one whole server 15 years ago! Impressive!

        [i]I also beta tested NT 3.1, 3.5 and 4.0.[/i]

        Get out of town, no way!!! You beta tested NT 15 years ago?!?! Wow, I can see why you think you have the skills required to break IT rules that you don't feel like following!!!

        [i]I have also installed and managed Windows 2000 Adv Server and SBS 2003.[/i]

        Incredible!! So 10 years ago, you installed a Windows Server and 7 years ago, you installed another Windows server that was pre-configured for you. Your qualifications for deciding how to run a network in 2010 simply can't be topped by anybody!!!

        HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Actually, thanks for this. I've found through experience that Mac users who claim to be Windows experts, when pushed to provide details, actually have piss poor qualifications. You might have the skills required to manage 1 Windows server with a handful of users but there is no way you are qualified to be making decisions about what you should or should not be allowed to do on any network larger than that. You simply aren't qualified, and you've just admitted it.

        [i]I haven't told anyone else how to do theirs[/i]

        Sure you have. The IT department has put policies in place for the safety of the organization as a whole (newsflash, you aren't the only person in your company) [b]exactly like your security guard example[/b]. By bringing your virus laden laptop into the organization and hooking it up to the network, you've just told the IT department how to do their job: have one set of rules for everyone else and another set of rules for you. Again, you've made it clear that you would hate it if anyone did the same to you. You've also made it clear that you would refuse to take responsibility should your virus laden laptop infect the network.

        Like I said, there are idiots in every profession. I think we just found one in yours.
        NonZealot
      • @NonZealot - I didn't flag your post

        that was intended to be nothing other than an insult.

        My IT folks know who I am and what I do. I haven't told them how to do anything. The guard I mentioned was the one you find in any classified computing center but you would know nothing of that.

        And I never insulted you. I actually assumed that you were someone who could use a "secure" OS and know better than to get infected. The fact that you assume that this is a difficult feat says a lot more about your choice of OS than the expertise of anyone using it.

        But your post reflects deeply on your character. I am glad that I am not you and I wish to never have to associate with someone so denigrating, hostile, and unprofessional as you have demonstrated that your are.
        jacarter3
      • Waaaa, mommy... he hit me first!!!

        [i]And I never insulted you.[/i]

        Did too and you did it first:
        [i]I know very well that I would never be able to enlighten the dark cavern that comprises your skull...[/i]

        But that's okay, nothing you could say could possibly hurt my feelings. :)

        PS I'm better than you because I beta tested Windows Server 2008 and I've setup and managed virtual environments with up to 5 (yes [b]FIVE[/b]) Windows servers on them!!! LOL!!!!
        NonZealot
      • "I'm better than you because..."

        @NonZealot

        No need to even comment on that...
        jacarter3
      • RE: Apple in the enterprise: Do the extra costs justify the value?

        @nonzealot
        "Actually, thanks for this. I've found through experience that Mac users who claim to be Windows experts, when pushed to provide details, actually have piss poor qualifications."

        You're kidding right?!? I've found that when pressed for either credentials or facts, you just disappear entirely.
        Not surprising given your track record of posting totally factually inaccurate BS.
        DeusXMachina
      • RE: Apple in the enterprise: Do the extra costs justify the value?

        @jacarter3 no offense, but:

        1. you should never be allowed to connect your own PC to the corporate LAN in any way, shape or form. It has nothing to do with your capability, it has all to do with risk. Companies need to be able to minimise this risk, and you (or any user puporting to know more..) increase that risk by an order of magnitude.

        2. I agree with some of your MCSE comments, however it's not the cert, it's the experience that counts. Poorly structured companies, or those with little forsight, typically hire based on the less is more strategy. Without experience, a MCSE is useless, and I see them every day.

        A properly managed network would not allow you to join it, regardless if you wanted to.
        stewymelb