Information Technology managers, you may have been able to keep Apple’s Mac out of your Windows PC dominated enterprise in the past, but the era of “no Macs allowed” in the working world is swiftly coming to an end.
That was the spirit of Gartner analyst Michael Silver’s talk at the Gartner conference here, as he shared the consultancy’s outlook on what exactly is going on in the enterprise desktop.
It’s still a Windows PC dominated world in the enterprise, but Windows is not only being challenged by tablet technology, a subtle shift is occurring that sees users demanding Mac computers. Silver says IT managers can no longer dismiss those requests out of hand, nor should they.
“[The desktop] is still 90-something percent Windows,” said Silver, adding that “thin clients will have 4% or so by the end of the year.” At most, there might be a 5% installed base of Macs.
However, as the consumerization of IT has its impact, more an more companies are finding themselves say “yes” to new devices and the Mac. A Gartner survey found 60% of enterprise still “limit” Macs, but more and more are “embracing” them. And 64% said they will likely allow more Macs into the enterprise over the next few years.
“It used to be, ‘How do we keep Macs out,'” Silver said.The view has been that Macs cost more money in terms of hardware, software, and IT support. However Gartner says that’s less the case today than in the past. Gartner says Macs actually come out slightly ahead in terms of cost, though the management experience of Macs in PC dominated enterprises can still vary wildly.
Silver says that companies deploying Macs seem to have widely different experiences here, with some easily managing Macs and others finding it “horrendously expensive.” Administration costs, were exactly the same for a Windows PC or an Mac. Macs came out slightly ahead in overall costs of hardware, software, IT labor and administration.
“Most organizations have to support some Mac infrastructure,” said Silver. It comes down to which applications the user wants to run.
Apple does little to present the Mac as and enterprise-ready system, yet when it comes to Macs, “expect the demand, and make plans for it,” advised Silver, saying the era when IT managers could willfully cross Macs off the list appears to be coming to a close. In fact, Silver says, “Saying ‘no’ could be a career-ending decision.”