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Mac Enterprise Adoption Grows
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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.
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. 


 
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.
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.
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.  :-)
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