How Apple is winning in the enterprise
Whilst PCs continue to be used in the workplace, the Apple collection of Macs, iPads, and iPhones are dominating the desk-space and pockets of the workforce. A recent survey revealed that 60 percent of US businesses are supporting more than 100 Apple devices and the UK seems to be following suit with Apple continuing to introduce features for the UK enterprise market -- such as the news that it will be expanding its Device Enrolment Program (DEP) to 26 countries, including the UK, Netherlands, France and Germany, highlighting Apple’s commitment to the enterprise. In addition, the program has also been opened up to devices purchased through third party resellers. This highlights the growing importance and demand for enterprise friendly software. So what is driving all this enthusiasm in the enterprise?
The take-up of Apple in the enterprise has been created by a series of drivers all coming together -- from growing popularity within the C-suite who wished to connect to the network, to millennials choosing to only work with their favorite consumer device and quite simply Apple’s decision to remove the pain of device management and application roll outs through its Zero Touch configurations and Volume Purchase Programs.
The Apple generation
The popularity of Apple in the consumer market has slowly but surely created a generation who has spent a sizable portion of their life owning and relying on Apple devices. According to telecoms regulator Ofcom, 61 percent of UK adults now say they own a smartphone, while household take-up of tablet computers has almost doubled over the past year to 44 percent. Leading the siege of lifestyle upon the workplace are "Millennials" who not only want to use their devices, but often do not see why it should be a problem in the workplace in such a digitally advance age. Like enterprises, the education system is also calling for more IT in the classroom for better user engagement and to help create a digitally savvy workforce.
Whereas it is easy to focus on the insatiable, "digital natives" that make up Generation Y when looking to identify key influencers, the truth is that there is as much demand coming from higher up the chain. IT departments may be able to say "no" to the interns, but saying "no" to the boss is more difficult. Often, executives will bring their new devices into the workplace and, through facilitating their implementation, IT are able to expand this enablement to cover the whole organization. Between the bosses and the employees and teachers and students, the IT department are tasked with finding solutions that will work for both the enterprise and the educational institute but this has previously not been an easy task until now.
Apple means business
Apple has improved its enablement and device management strategies greatly over the past 12 months, and especially through the iOS 8 operating system. One of the areas in which it has been making large strides is through the facilitation of large scale deployment and purchase of apps throughout the enterprise. Both the enterprise and education programs now have support for a feature called The Volume Purchase Program (VPP).This program allows for IT to control and distribute apps across the breadth of the workplace, whilst retaining full ownership of the apps. Apple also surprised many onlookers by introducing the 'Zero-Touch' management across Europe.
Both the enterprise and education programs now have support for Mobile Device Management hands-free configuration. This 'zero touch' setup has been a long-requested feature for many pros, as it eliminates the need to cable up every deployed device and install a profile via Apple’s Configurator utility. Removing the hassle and workload from managing large numbers of devices, is the key way in which Apple is matching enthusiasm from the workforce with clear, effective and practical enablement programs in place. Third-party companies have arisen from the desperate need for both education and businesses to enjoy the benefits of Apple devices in a controlled and secured way -- helping technology staff to upload software, manage security apps and oversee productivity for thousands of phones, tablets and Macs within a click of a button.
The popularity of Apple, combined with the growing ease in which devices can be incorporated into the enterprise, is creating a working environment ripe with possibilities. Many people have chosen to focus on the issues of security, but what today’s statistics show is that Apple is becoming not only increasingly popular, but increasingly trusted in the workplace from the top to the bottom.
Tad Johnson is commercial marketing manager at JAMF Software
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