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6/11/2014
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Mac Enterprise Adoption Grows

Windows still reigns in the enterprise, but new data shows Macs gaining ground.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 10 Tablets Paved Its Way
Microsoft Surface Pro 3: 10 Tablets Paved Its Way
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Windows has long ruled the enterprise computing scene, but Apple is making headway -- not only with mobile devices, but also with Macs. According to a new survey of IT professionals, three out of five businesses support Apple computers. Moreover, nearly all respondents said they expect more Apple products to be used at work over the next three years. But Mac fans shouldn't get too excited; other factors suggest Windows still has a stranglehold on enterprise PCs.

Conducted in April of this year, the survey included 309 IT professionals. It was commissioned by JAMF Software, an Apple-focused IT management vendor, and conducted by Dimensional Data. The survey found that over 90% of businesses use Apple products, with 91% supporting iPhones, 89% supporting iPads and 60% supporting Macs.

[Does Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 beat Apple's MacBooks? Read Microsoft Surface Pro 3: My First 2 Weeks.]

The figures represent an explosion of Apple devices in the workplace. JAMF's report states that in 2011, most companies said Apple products made up less than 10% of their employees' devices. In the new survey, the reverse was true: 68% of respondents reported that Apple products comprise more than 10% of employee machines. Fully 35% stated that at least 25% of employee devices are Apple products.

Source: JAMF Software
Source: JAMF Software

Clearly, iPad and iPhones are responsible for much of this growth. But the Mac figures are eye-catching too. It's well established that iPads and iPhones have become the mobile devices of choice for many businesses. Traditional computers are a different story; in the enterprise, Windows PCs have traditionally outnumbered Macs by more than ten to one.

So is JAMF's new data proof that Mac adoption is growing in the enterprise? Yes -- but with qualifications.

Apple's advocates, including CEO Tim Cook, often characterize iPhones as a gateway to the company's other products, including Macs. There's some truth to this. In the enterprise, the trend has manifested in BYOD programs. Once IT embraced employee preference by supporting iPhones and iPads, there was no going back, which led to support for more of employees' favorite devices, including Macs.

JAMF's report reinforces that employee preference drives Mac adoption; according to the survey, 78% of companies support Apple products for this reason, making preference far and away the most widely cited factor. "Higher productivity" was the second most commonly cited reason for using Apple products, marked by some 35% of respondents.

In an interview, Forrester analyst David Johnson agreed that BYOD programs have ushered more Macs into the enterprise, although not in overwhelming numbers. He said companies have become more interested in Type 2 hypervisors that allow companies to run Windows programs on Apple machines.

Still, Macs aren't invading the enterprise so much as making incremental progress. Data from Web-tracking firm Net Applications, for instance, shows that so far this year, OS X has actually lost market share. Windows XP's retirement might have been an opportunity for Macs to gain share, but most business users seem to have gone with Windows 7.

According to Forrester's most recent survey data, Apple remains a small player among enterprise desktop users, with only 2% of the field. MacBooks fare better, accounting for 6% of all laptops. These numbers put JAMF's findings into a larger perspective -- but they don't mean Apple's PCs aren't growing in popularity. Forrester found that 8% of employees want their next work device to be a Mac, indicating that though Windows remains the enterprise PC champ, Apple's influence is expanding.

What do Uber, Bank of America, and Walgreens have to do with your mobile app strategy? Find out in the new Maximizing Mobility issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest.

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

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David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 2:52:26 PM
Macs at work: need or preference?
It would be interesting to know how many of the employees getting Macs get them out of a real need, related to the work they do and things Macs do better. I suspect some of this is just employers indulging valued employees who have a strong Mac preference. In which case, it's good news that more companies are doing well enough to carve out money to pay the Mac premium.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 3:52:07 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
Often that preference for Macs is born out of a desire to be more productive. If people are more productive with an operating system that makes them more comfortable, it's not just a preference but a decision that improves productivity. When I can problem solve an IT issue due to OS affinity, that's a support desk savings.

Also, Apple's software model has real advantages to businesses. An employer that buys an employee a Mac will provide that employee with access to all Mac App Store software registered under that employee's personal Apple ID while at work. In some cases, the device may pay for itself in software the business didn't have to license.
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 10:39:43 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
I am not an Apple fan by any stretch, but you make some good points. However, that's a slippery slope to start - inducing cost savings by having users buy the software they use at work? Not to mention a number of apps have license agreements that are different for home versus corporate users. Do you want to risk your company having to pay tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars for violating these agreements? I certainly cannot tolerate that level of risk.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 3:10:34 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
"Often that preference for Macs is born out of a desire to be more productive. If people are more productive with an operating system that makes them more comfortable, it's not just a preference but a decision that improves productivity."

I agree with Thomas. A friend of mine recently switched from PC to Mac and the first thing he noticed was he was more productive, could accomplished more in a day on a Mac than what he ever could on a day on a PC.

Long gone are the days when Macs were considered only a decorative device with great design but not good for the enterprise. Macs in the enterprise win in productivity and efficiency. 

-Susan
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
6/11/2014 | 3:57:49 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
It's a good question. Apple has a lot of devoted fans-- but it also has a lot of devoted detractors who consider Apple a marketing company that happens to make devices.

In terms of software titles, I think the Mac's advantage is pretty small, and confined to specific industries. A lot of media professionals prefer Mac, but I'm not sure it has much to do with Final Cut these days; it seems a lot of people still use Macs but have moved over to Adobe. Certainly, the number of companies who need OS X-exclusive software is dwarfed by the number of companies who need Windows software. That said, within those companies, not all employees are equally tethered to Windows, and among those who aren't, many might prefer a Mac.

I think there's something to Apple's software-hardware fusion. Maybe my experience isn't representative, but I've had lesser-specced Macs that outperformed newer, faster Windows machines. Whether you prefer OS X or Windows is more subjective and more dependent on the kind of work you do. But for knowledge workers and multi-taskers, some OS X features – such as Spaces – could make people more productive.

All that said, Macs are expensive. Based on the JAMF survey and a similar survey Parallels recent released, Macs also seem to be a management headache for a number of IT pros (though FWIW, when JAMF or Parallels points out that sort of data point, it's arguably intrinsically self-serving, since it points out a need for their products). Still, Tim Cook has been more ostentatious about enterprise-oriented features than Steve Jobs ever was, so maybe Apple will help to mitigate some of these headaches. Microsoft is starting to do its part, since its mobility suite can manage iOS devices in addition to Windows ones.
awebb199
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awebb199,
User Rank: Strategist
6/11/2014 | 10:16:27 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
This is the Survey Methodology:

In April 2014, corporate IT professionals were invited to participate in an online survey on the topic of Apple device adoption and management in the enterprise. A total of 309 individuals participated, including a variety of stakeholders such as IT executives, managers and front-line IT professionals from a range of company sizes and industry verticals."

Perhaps the people who declined to participate were less interested in "Apple device adoption and management" because they worked in companies that don't use Apple. 


 
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 9:11:59 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
Michael, one of the things you mention is a common piece of wisdom: "Macs are more expensive." It's certainly true that you can by a minimally configured PC for less than most Macs, but when I was looking at machines last year I found that, when I configured systems to equivalent hardware specs, Macs and Windows 8 machine were within $50 of one another.

Others' mileage may vary, of course, but my experience with this particular piece of the puzzle tells me that it might be overblown.
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 10:02:34 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Curt thanks for doing the comparision shopping. I have wondered if that might happen but never took the time to see for myself.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2014 | 3:18:13 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Michelle, I compared both laptops and "all in one" desktop units and found the price comparison to hold across both platforms.

What's really interested is what I found when I compared what I bought last year (a full-up MacBook Pro Retina) with the machines I was buying a decade ago. I got dramatically more power in every dimension for roughly half the price I once thought was very reasonable. There are certain aspects of this industry that, as a consumer, you just have to love!
Michelle
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Michelle,
User Rank: Strategist
6/26/2014 | 11:02:16 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Curt that's amazing! A friend asked me about buying a new laptop not long after I first read this post. You did all the comparison work so I only had to ask a few questions to find out if the budget Windows machine might do. 

Agreed, this is great time to buy technology!!!!!!!! The early days of the PC were facinating but these days are dazzling when you can see how much more power is available.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 10:35:23 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Curt,


Good point. The entry point for Windows is much lower, but when you look at Windows machines that are specced comparably to an iMac or MacBook Pro, the Apple computers don't seem as pricey. It would be more accurate to say that Windows is more accessible in terms of price, perhaps, not necessarily that Apple is more expensive in absolute terms. Plus, if you look beyond specs (e.g. actual performance, longevity of device and amortization of investment, etc.), there are other ways to define value, many of which favor Mac.
Curt Franklin
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Curt Franklin,
User Rank: Strategist
6/14/2014 | 3:21:37 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Michael, another point of comparison might be interesting (and it's one I haven't done in a long time): Residual value at the end of a three-year equipment lease.

In the 1990s, that figure was why IBM and Dell ruled the enterprise desktop market -- each had at least small residual value at the end of a three-year equipment lease, and the value could be realized when doing a hardware refresh under a new lease. Other vendors had zero residual value. I wonder whether Macs have residual value on leases. The answer could explain at least a part of the enterprise acceptance level.
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 6:49:04 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
Curt, 

"It's certainly true that you can by a minimally configured PC for less than most Macs, but when I was looking at machines last year I found that, when I configured systems to equivalent hardware specs, Macs and Windows 8 machine were within $50 of one another."

I am a firm believer that most people just keep on repeating "Macs are more expensive" without really stopping to make a real analysis of the products. Many times the parroting is without knowledge of how it really is to work with a Mac, or the features than only Macs have and are invaluable for some users. 

In my experience, at the end of the day you are more satisfied with how productive you are with a Mac. Some things are priceless. 

-Susan
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 12:58:23 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@Michael Endler: "Certainly, the number of companies who need OS X-exclusive software is dwarfed by the number of companies who need Windows software."

From a networking standpoint, most everything I personally need is available (and often better) on OSX. However, the fact that companies need certain items of Windows software speaks to the problem I raised in my last comment. Why are these pieces of software not available cross-platform? Because of user volume (or occasionally, lazy companies/coders). If more people have Macs, will that balance shift?

 

p.s. Dear Microsoft, how about Visio for Mac? Eh? Eh? Come on now.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 7:33:24 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
I can answer that from a standpoint that I do support Macs in our enterprise.  There is not a single person who uses one because of tools that they "need" most are management level who are more comfortable with a Mac for various reasons.  Sometimes it is because they started life as A/V techs and used Macs when they were the best option for tools that they needed.  Other times it is because the UI is easier for them and still others it is just the Apple "cool" factor and we are letting them indulge.  Honestly I don't mind because it lets my team stretch and it gives us a different point of view.  We have to focus on solutions that work for everyone not just a very tightly controlled set of software and hardware.  In the end it means we deliver more flexible solutions and their life cycles are a bit longer because we have to stay ahead of the typical technology curve.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 11:48:03 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
This seems like a pretty smart way to go about it, especially if you have a mix of tech-savvy people onboard. 

Microsoft might still have the lion's share of the PC industry, but as the world changes form factors and other competitors like Linux and SteamOS become more dominant, I can see businesses needing to adapt more to accepting alternative operating systems and formats for people to perform their work on. 

With those of you that handle the IT for large numbers of enterprise users, do you have a threshold of people wanting to use a particular piece of hardware or software before you allow it?
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/12/2014 | 12:51:37 PM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@SaneIT  Is your company an Active Directory domain user? That's probably the primary reason MAC's have never came on radar at our Win 7 standard desktop environment. Some guys that travel have iPads (no domain logons) and we support those to the extent that we can run IBM Notes Traveler on them to get email. But that is only company software (outside browser) those things can run. Even our Group license to Office 2010 does them no good.

Or can Mac's participate in Active Directory now? I really have no idea anymore, I know for a long time they could not.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 7:47:03 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
Yes we use AD and how Macs participate is a bit touch and go.  With OSX 10.5 and later you can join the Domain with your Mac.  If you have ever used SAMBA then you have a pretty good idea of how this works.  Even with a Mac connected to the domain it really isn't necessary since I have our various services tied to AD and all of the components that an employee needs can be accessed via a browser or an RDP connection.  For most of our Mac users they don't need access to anything that can't be reached via the browser so it is a fairly smooth transition until someone sends them a link that includes a Windows drive mapping.  For those that need applications that will not run on a Mac we use Terminal services to deliver apps to their Mac and they act like really expensive terminals.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
6/13/2014 | 9:43:00 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@SaneIT  Thanks for info. And I also assume using Group Policy and wireless RADIUS is a no go to?

Sounds like more work/complication for your IT guys just so someone can say they use a Mac, don't see a lot of business reasons backing it up.  :-)
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/16/2014 | 8:53:26 AM
Re: Macs at work: need or preference?
@TerryB,

Yes there are limitations and yes the reasons for using a Mac are often times quite thin.  For my team it isn't much more work since the services we built are browser based the troubleshooting doesn't change much.  Anyone using a Mac knows that they will have to give up some of the ease of use that a Windows machine gives them and many use RDP to supplement Mac OS.  I do it too even though I run a Windows machine.  Rather than have some applications that require frequent updates running on my desktop I run them from a terminal server so I don't have to spend time working on my own machine.

 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Strategist
6/20/2014 | 10:42:08 AM
Heard this one before.....
Replace the word MAC with Linux and you have all the same logic and reasons as thousands of articles written before....

Funny how they never really happen. Well, not in real numbers anyways.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 12:52:39 AM
Re: Heard this one before.....
"Replace the word MAC with Linux and you have all the same logic and reasons as thousands of articles written before...."

Mmm, yes in one way I agree with you - breaking a majority position is difficult to say the least, especially when the baseline price for entry into the Mac range is so high compared to PCs. If Apple could make a $400 laptop with the same basic quality and engagement level as the rest of the range, they'd probably make much bigger inroads in terms of total percentage of the marketplace.

For linux, the big barrier to adoption was the "you're on your own" mentality. Too much fragmentation of the OS meant people didn't (still don't) know which flavor to install, and even if you love it, you gotta admit, X-windows really does suck, visually speaking. Apple has a different problem. The hardware and OS are not fragmented (they're arguably almost too tightly controlled). There's great software available for the Mac, but in vicious circle fashion, there's more for the PC platform because people develop for the biggest markets first (or exclusively) to maximize profit. The trick for Apple, assuming that they actually do want to replace Windows as #1 OS, is breaking the cycle whereby more users means more software, and more software means more users...
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 7:16:25 AM
Synchronizing Apple devices for productivity
It is true that iPhones ara a gateway to other Apple products and that the the trend of BYOD programs has allowed employees to bring more iPhones and iPads to the work environment.

However, adding Macs to the picture is only logical due to how Apples devices synchronize making so many things so much easier. Not to mention the increase of productivity when working on a Mac, which, for many, has no comparison. 

-Susan 
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