Managing Macs and iPads has Become an IT Imperative

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The Mac has become a fixture in many organizations, large and small.  In a recent report by Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf, it was reported that the Mac has achieved its largest market share in 15 years.  In the consumer space, the Mac enjoyed growth of 24.6 growth, while in the enterprise market it roared to growth of 43.8 percent.  According to Wolf, it’s been happening for a few quarters in a row.  In a note to investors, Wolf wrote “What we initially viewed as a one-quarter blip in the business market has emerged as a durable pattern.”

A good example of this trend is GE, where a pilot project testing Mac notebooks and desktops for its employees has been running for the past year.  GE now has over 1,000 Mac users — still a small percentage of the 33,000 computers, but a trend that few would have considered possible.

To make the growth even more impressive, one has only to add the iPad into the mix.  According to Computerworld, Apple will sell an estimated $19 billion in Macs and iPads to enterprises in 2012, a 58% jump over the year before.  And in 2013, corporations will spend $28 billion on Apple computers and tablets, said Andrew Bartels, an analyst with Forrester Research.  By any measurement, Apple’s uptick is impressive.

What is causing this growth?  According to Forrester Senior Analyst David Johnson, performance is the number one issue.  “Time is the only thing that these fierce competitors can’t make more of.  Many of today’s corporate PCs are saddled with management, backup and security agents that can bog down a PC.  Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes and they don’t want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20MB spreadsheet in Excel.  They’re drawn to uncluttered Macs…”  The fact that users simply love the Mac interface is also a big factor.  The “usability” attraction is even more pronounced with the iPad.

At SAManage, we believe that there is another driving factor — SaaS and the Cloud.  As we all know, SaaS is making major inroads into enterprises of all sizes.  Consider that many, if not all, legacy applications require a client or some application running on the end-user computer, which in the vast majority of cases is a Windows PC.  As SaaS becomes more prevalent, this “client” need is vanishing.

SaaS or cloud-based applications mean that end-users can become device agnostic, thus sparking the move to what many end-users consider to be the most desirable device — a Mac or an iPad.  The trend is undeniable.

Perhaps the most important take-away from this rapidly moving trend is that IT leaders must accept that managing Apple devices is no longer an option.  It is an imperative.  A good starting point is to ensure that your IT Asset Management system provides full support for Apple devices.