TCO: New research finds Macs in the enterprise easier, cheaper to manage than Windows PCs

Shocking: A recent survey of enterprise IT managers that administer both PCs and Macs finds that Macs have a better TOC (total cost of ownership) than Windows boxes, and require less user training and help.
Written by David Morgenstern, Contributor
Shocking: A recent survey of enterprise IT managers that administer both PCs and Macs finds that Macs have a better TOC (total cost of ownership) than Windows boxes, and require less user training and help.
The respondents were given the option to select from a range of cost differences. Not only did the administrators across the board say that Macs were less expensive, in all but one category the majority of administrators who said Macs cost less said they were more than 20 percent less expensive to manage than PCs. Of those who asserted that PCs cost less, the majority always asserted that PCs were between 0 and 20 percent less expensive to manage than Macs.
The Enterprise Desktop Alliance survey took results from organizations that had 50 or more servers or over 100 Macs, what the organization said were enterprises, academic sites and government agencies. The figures that pop out from the chart are those for the time spent troubleshooting problems (16 vs 65 percent, PC and Macs, respectively), dealing with help desk calls (16 vs 54 percent), training users (16 vs 48 percent) and managing system configs. (25 vs 50 percent).
At the Macworld Expo last month, I spoke to T. Reid Lewis, president of the EDA and CEO of Group Logic, a maker of network software and Mac integration products such as ExtremeZ-IP. He pointed out that important enterprise service and back-end platform companies were coming on board the multiplatform bandwagon. That includes IBM, which joined the EDA in Feb. Big Blue's Informix database, Rational software delivery automationware and Lotus messaging and collaboration platform support Macs, and the company had a booth at the Expo.

Absolute Software, the maker of LoJack and Absolute Manage also joined the EDA in Feb. Macs are coming into the enterprise and support for them in familiar software management and delivery consoles is catching up. While IT management remains suspicious of the Mac platform and most admins focus on Microsoft certification programs rather than Mac OS X certifications, users continue to purchase Macs and request support. According to Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray analyst, the year-to-year retail sales of Macs climbed 39 percent during January and February. He said this means some 2.8 to 2.9 million Macs were be sold in the quarter. Another recent EDA survey found that 66 percent of IT administrators in large organizations that currently have both Macs and PCs will increase the number of Macs in their sites. The reasons? In addition to the ease of support (and the associated cost reductions found in the survey above), user preference, and increased productivity. Check Out: Are Mac OS X and Apple servers making inroads with the Feds? We can point to many places for the rise in the Mac's status: Apple's continuing execution on its Mac OS X platform; the company's focus on hardware quality and technological advances in a time when PC makers have raced to the bottom of the market with netbooks and crappy low-cost systems; support for Intel processors and Windows virtualization; the halo effect of the iPod and iPhone platforms; the terrible introduction of Windows Vista; the Apple Store strategy; or others. Whatever the combination of reasons or just the fact that the Mac is better, users seem to have shaken off the past FUD from Redmond and Intel that fell on the Apple platform. I spoke to a white-collar professional yesterday who is looking at buying a new notebook. He has never used anything other than a PC. But now, he's seriously looking at a Mac. I told him to go to the local Apple retail store and get a tour. IT managers will have to deal. They can be thankful that integration is easier than ever and getting better all the time. Check Out: Yes, based on Mac history, Windows 7.5 will suck less Check Out: Updates that boost Mac searching and content discovery
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