The rise of Apple in the enterprise

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Tariq Saied, Enterprise Services Director at Jigsaw24, discusses the growing adoption of Apple technology in the enterprise and why Apple products have become an essential item in today’s business tool kit. 

Decisions around the technology used within an organisation have traditionally been the domain of the IT department. Today, however, growing trends for BYOD and consumerisation have led to employees exercising a greater degree of choice around the technology they use in the workplace. And in many cases, they are choosing Apple over any alternative; in a recent survey, three quarters of enterprise users said that, given the option, they would choose to use Macs and iPhones.

The brand’s appeal speaks for itself. In the UK, it consistently tops lists of cool brands, and more than 52 million iPhones were sold globally between January and March 2018 which, along with sales of iPads and Macs, generated over US$61 billion in revenue for the tech giant. 

Recent advances in computing and connectivity mean many of us are now going to work with better technology in our pockets than on our office desktops. iOS is by far the most popular platform for carrying out mobile activities in the workplace, and three quarters of the next generation of workers currently claims to use an iPhone. Indeed, many up and coming CIOs and CXOs tend to be Apple fans. 

This perception, along with the company’s campaign slogan that “it just works”, goes some way to explain why Apple is rapidly becoming the business technology of choice. 

Business benefits

With an increase in cloud adoption affording today’s workforce a greater degree of mobility, it is more important than ever that businesses give employees the tools and technology they need to carry out their work wherever they are, at any time.  

The current generation of workers expect to have their personal lives on their work computers, blurring the line between personal and work devices. As a result, the trend for BYOD has shifted toward COPE, or corporately owned, personally enabled devices. 

Acknowledging the increasing demand from employees for the iPhones, iPads and Macs that can serve the technology needs of both their work and personal lives, CIOs and IT directors have been left with little option but to become more flexible, and offer greater choice.

And while the IT team may enjoy the popularity and kudos that comes from giving their colleagues what they want, there is a compelling economic argument for implementing Apple technology across an organisation’s IT estate. 

Apple devices tend to be perceived as expensive purchases, but if purchased on a lease, or on a Device as a Service (DaaS) basis, the considerable residual value of a Mac will deliver a much higher return on investment on the total cost of ownership than a similarly configured Windows PC. Indeed, PCs have been found by some companies to be up to three times as expensive as a Mac equivalent over the course of a four-year lifespan. 

Overcoming obstacles and objections

Ryan Kremkau, director of engineering at Capital One, explains that “people buy Apple devices and then use them right out of the box. They expect to find the same thing at work when using Apple devices. This has elevated expectations across IT.”

Within IT departments, however, there exists a level of fear and uncertainty, with many unsure of how to deploy Apple technology across their business, how to integrate it with their existing Windows estate, or how to maintain and update it further down the line. However, the process of deploying and integrating Apple devices has become significantly more streamlined over the last five years, with Apple driving initiatives like the Device Enrolment Programme and Volume Purchase Programme that make the management of Apple devices far simpler for teams used to working with Windows.

Generation Y is accustomed to using Windows from their school days, however, times are changing. Millennials and Generation Z have been brought up with Apple, with Apple products playing an increasingly bigger role in education at both school and university level. This isn’t to say that the younger demographic doesn’t use PCs. However, by the time they leave education most will know iOS inside and out, spending more time on their iPads, Macs and iPhones than any other demographic. This group will be key to plugging the potential skills gap and using Apple devices effectively in the professional realm. 

This skills set will also be important to justify the cost of Apple devices. As with all technology, if not implemented properly it can have an adverse impact on its use and intended impact. Millennials and younger generations will become specialists in Apple products and will lead the charge in building a new Apple culture within organisations. 

Widely adopted by businesses

Statistics clearly illustrate the extent to which Apple is becoming the brand of choice for consumers. 

But with its App Store containing more than 230,000 business apps, and with strategic partnerships in place with enterprise giants such as Cisco, Accenture and SAP, it’s little surprise that Apple technology is now being more widely adopted by businesses across all verticals. GE, for example, recently announced plans to shift its IT estate to iOS devices and Macs, and SAP currently has 13,000 Macs deployed across the company.

Offering employees a choice is key. 

As Dean Hager, CEO of Apple management provider Jamf, points out, “A lot of people say Apple is getting more focused on enterprise… I believe Apple helped enterprise focus more on users… It started with Apple creating great products people wanted to bring to work, and then they just demanded it.”

In meeting this demand, organisations are seeing Apple technology play an increasingly essential part in their business. And with businesses now able to lease, finance or procure outright a device out of the box, loaded with everything they need – from corporate apps and MDM, to endpoint security and backup – Apple is now on track to set the enterprise world alight.

Tariq Saied, Enterprise Services Director at Jigsaw24 

Image Credit: Startup Stock Photos / Pexels