Apple's Long Drive to Win Enterprise Acceptance: 10 Smart Moves
Let Microsoft Be Microsoft
Apple made an exceedingly smart move in the enterprise by taking the long view and taking advantage of Microsoft missteps. Apple understood that the times were changing and Microsoft was failing to adapt. When Vista caused all kinds of trouble for corporate users, high quality, reliable Mac OS X products started looking like attractive alternatives. The iPhone maker capitalized on this opportunity. Now, Mac OS X is making inroads into the enterprise, and in some ways Apple has Microsoft and Vista to thank for it.
The Great RIM Collapse
Years ago, the enterprise mobile market was a tough space for any company to crack, since nearly every major company was using the BlackBerry. But the Apple iPhone's design was a game changer. Apple showed that smartphones didn't need physical keyboards, and it had other features that Research In Motion failed to respond to. Apple started seeing its iPhone gain ground in enterprises. Now, the iPhone is one of the most desired products among IT decision makers.
The Consumerization of IT
Another important trend was that corporate employees once again played their historic role in influencing IT decision making. The products employees use in their personal lives are being brought into the office, and surprisingly IT is allowing it or at least trying to control it. Consumerization has become a key factor in Apple's enterprise success.
The iPad Is a Huge Factor
The iPad has also benefited from the consumerization trend and become a favorite among business users. The device allows for easy mobility, includes support for high-quality enterprise applications and, in many cases, increases employee productivity with its intuitive software design. The iPad has helped Apple establish itself in the corporate world.
Proprietary App Development
It's often overlooked, but Apple's willingness to allow companies to develop applications they use internally on the iPhone and iPad has been a boon to the Cupertino firm's corporate business. Both small and large companies are now developing proprietary iOS applications after companies like Lowe's and others have found so much value in it.
Attracting Developers in Massive Numbers
Although proprietary applications are important, Apple wouldn't be so successful in the enterprise if not for help from third-party developers. Prominent enterprise service providers, large software development houses and even small companies are delivering high-quality apps for the corporate world. Without those apps, Apple wouldn't be the enterprise favorite that it is today.
Security, Security, Security
Security matters more than anything to enterprise customers. Windows and Android failed from the start to build in high levels of security. Apple, meanwhile, tries to convey a message to corporate customers that its platforms are highly secure. Although that reputation has taken a serious hit with the appearance of the Flashback Trojan, it's hard to debate that Apple is still providing the most secure platforms around.
Consider the Generational Shift
Although companies have historically been loath to change, they're starting to realize that as younger employees come into the market, they need to adapt. Meanwhile, Apple has positioned itself as the favorite among younger people, including college students. Combine that with an increase in young workers, and it's clear why Apple's products have become so popular in the corporate world.
Its Not About the Initial Price
Too often, it's forgotten that today's enterprise customers care first about the total cost of ownership. Sure, Apple products are more expensive initially than Windows or Android products. But over their entire lifecycles, that might not be the case. Think of all of the savings in security software, longevity due to powerful components and other savings Apple products bring to the table that others just don't.
The Cluttered Windows Environment
One of the nicest things about Mac OS X is that enterprise customers are finding is that it's not bloated. Once it's taken out of the box, a Mac can be booted up in minutes and it doesn't require all kinds of security programs to be loaded onto it before it can connect to the Web. Windows PCs, meanwhile, take forever to boot up and hog serious resources due to all the things they need to run properly. The cluttered Windows environment has only improved Apple product adoption in the marketplace.