Apple Macs have witnessed a deep shift from the year 1984 when they were first launched. Interestingly, Windows PCs were launched almost two years later in November 1985 but became the default choice for enterprises. But how did that happen?
When we look closely, certain patterns emerge. It was possible because of the strong ‘Active Directory’ backbone, management of Windows PC, extensive software choices designed for Windows devices, and applications hosted on Windows Servers. Also the enterprise accessibility factor was an influence since Windows services enjoyed easy availability and low cost.
It's been over 35 years and times have changed. Macs have been slowly and steadily chipping their way into enterprises and there are multiple reasons behind this shift.
I have observed the following factors playing a key role:
Mac devices are becoming a popular choice for employees for personal computing needs for long and are habituated with the usage and interface. The ubiquitous mass appeal of iPhones plays an important role and its seamless sync with Mac binds the users to the Apple ecosystem.
Today, most enterprises are either already providing, or actively planning to include Mac as a choice of device for their employees. In a recent survey, 94% of employees say they would stick to an organization which gives them a choice of device with 79% admitting that they are more productive with a Mac.
Application availability has increased tremendously over the years for Macs. This is possible because of the underlying shift to cloud and web-based applications. With the decoupling of OS and application compatibility of enterprise applications, this is not a showstopper anymore.
The hindrance of using virtualization for unsupported apps, or running hardware emulation virtualization software such as Parallels has reduced considerably. All of these add to the end user’s experience and reduce an enterprise’s IT efforts to make core enterprise applications run on the Mac platform.
Management of Mac devices has become simpler and easier for Enterprise IT. There are two major shifts here:
Firstly, managing devices like we manage Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD) in enterprises has changed the fixed outlook of IT admin teams. Now we can manage enterprise data on different platforms without strictly administering the underlying OS layer. The increasing shift toward managing laptops in a fashion similar to mobile phones has its own benefits in less administration efforts, quick turnaround times and better user satisfaction.
Secondly, with the availability of management solutions such as JAMF, Broadcom (Airwatch/VMware Workspace ONE), Microsoft has made it easier to manage Mac devices from a single pane as Windows PCs.
Enterprise IT can manage Mac devices efficiently in a much more predictable manner and don’t need to rely on the previous methods of binding them to active directory or manage them in a standalone manner. This also builds upon the Zero Trust strategy which allows to continuously verify that the user and their device have the right privileges and attributes.
Security and privacy
Security of enterprise data and privacy of users is the key concern for organizations. Apple considers privacy as a fundamental human right; in fact, it is one of their core values. This is an extremely important factor which gives Mac devices a big thumbs up in the enterprise and is an important factor which influences end users to choose Macs.
Apple’s platform security, built from the ground up, uses features such as secure enclave (SoC), system integrity protection, FileVault, cryptographically encrypted APFS volumes, Find My, etc., making it extremely trustworthy and reliable. Using standard payloads coupled with Automated Device Enrollments, makes it a great choice for IT admins to securely deploy Mac devices while maintaining user productivity.
The final point addresses the biggest challenge faced by CFOs and CTOs—the cost. Over the years, various studies have proved that Macs being costly in the enterprise is a myth and not as straightforward as it was perceived to be, earlier.
Organizations can save up to $635 over a three-year period for managing a Mac device as compared to a Windows PC. Device management and deployment save another $207 over the same time. Apart from quantifiable savings, enterprises face up to 50% less data breaches because of Apple security features and improved employee engagement, productivity levels, and retention rates. 80% higher start up times, lower break fixes, extended battery times, all add up to heightened user satisfaction levels.
All the above factors make it a perfect combination for enterprises to bring Mac devices into the mainstream and give employees the choice to pick up the device of their preference.
Organizations should seriously consider integrating existing Mac devices as well as procuring new Macs into the IT ecosystem and move into a unified endpoint management, leading to improved digital experience.