Work from home amplifies Apple's role in the enterprise

The enterprise has been pushed out to employees' homes, and therefore, onto Apple's home turf.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Apple is welcoming enterprises to its world -- the consumer space. While the backend heavy lifting is still left to infrastructure vendors, Apple has taken on a very prominent and visible role at the front end of many enterprise engagements. 

Photo: Joe McKendrick

That's the word from a survey of 300 IT professionals, commissioned by Kandji and conducted by Dimensional Research, which finds that Apple adoption in the enterprise is up in the last two years -- because so many people started working from home or remote locations. 

The company has been a gradually working its way into enterprises over the years, with Macs in many a marketing department and iPhones being carried in and out of executive suites and data centers. With the great Covid workplace dispersal of 2020-21, the enterprise suddenly was pushed out into Apple's home turf. Seventy-six percent of respondents said employee use of Apple devices has increased in the last two years, with Mac notebook computer use up the most at 63% reported increase. In addition, more than half (53%) of respondents reported requests for Apple devices have increased in the past two years, and far more reported bigger increases in requests for Apple (42%) than any other device (11%).

Apple in the enterprise is a real bottom-up story. While larger vendors spent years and decades doing hard sells from the top down in enterprises, Apple worked its way in from the consumer space, working its way from the bottom up.  "The company never set out to build out enterprise-grade devices with the iPhone and iPad," Ron Miller wrote in TechCrunch. "They simply wanted devices that worked better than what was out there at the time. That people liked to use them so much that they brought them to work was an extension of that goal." 

That "extension" was not lost on Apple, of course, which has built up an impressive enterprise presence. "Apple has been constructing a network to make the most of iPhone, iPad and Mac devices in the corporate world," Gina Luk noted in Strategy Analytics, who noted, at the time, that there were more than 235,000 business apps in the App Store. Apple also develops custom apps for business solutions, and maintains a robust Developer Enterprise Program, intended for companies wishing to distribute apps internally. 

With so much of the workforce working remotely, Apple devices have become a preferred gateway to enterprise communications as well as apps. Almost half of the IT executives in the Kandji survey, 48%. believe Apple devices are "advantageous" for hybrid workers, while 41% say there is no difference with other computers such as Windows or Android. IT professionals are onboard with Apple as well -- 85% would recommend Apple devices to their organization's employees.

Further, 54% reported they are confident in the ability to manage their Apple devices, versus 37% for other platforms. Another 75% said Apple devices are more expensive to buy up front but are less expensive to maintain and support in the long run, and 84% said Apple devices are more secure than devices from other vendors.  

The survey also explored the challenges with managing remote devices: Ninety-five percent of respondents said that managing remote devices is challenging, and cited remote troubleshooting, onboarding, and various forms of security as the top challenges. In addition, 84% said ease of remote management is the most important capability for remote and hybrid worker devices.

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