For Mac fanatics, here's a promising sounding survey result: 66 percent of 322 IT administrators plan to bring more Macs into their organizations in 2010. Too bad that all of the respondents come from large organizations that already have on-site Macs.
On the other hand, the enterprises in question do want more Apple computers, which ought to count for something. In the survey, conducted during December and January by the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, the IT administrators attributed the planned Mac purchases to user preferences, Mac-related productivity increases and the ease of providing technical support for the computers.
Of course, the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, a consortium of enterprise software companies that includes Absolute Software, Centrify, Group Logic and IBM, is hardly an organization without an agenda. The group's goal is to promote the deployment of Macs in the enterprise, encouraging businesses to run them side by side with their Windows machines -- and selling them integration software.
"Despite the uncertain economic conditions, Apple can expect the Mac to continue to find acceptance in large organizations," said Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA) president T. Reid Lewis, who is also CEO of network software provider Group Logic. "More and more solutions are available to help these enterprises address their integration and management issues."
Eighty-one percent of respondents said that parity in integration and management between Macs and PCs was important to their organization. Asked to name their top integration issues, 79 percent said file sharing between operating systems, followed by security (79 percent), client management including inventory, patches and compliance (72 percent), active directory integration (66 percent), and cross‐platform help desk and knowledge base support (60 percent).
In a statement, the EDA quoted from a recent report penned by Gartner analyst Michael Silver: "As a greater percentage of enterprise applications become OS‐neutral, the cost to support a more diverse hardware and OS mix will decrease, making Macs a more viable choice for a greater number of users who continue to demand them."
But let's not overlook some simple facts. In November, Gartner's own Nick Jones suggested that about 1 percent of enterprise PCs are Macs. Last summer, Forrester Research said that 4 percent of computers in the enterprise were Macs. Sure, there have been recent signs of momentum for Macs in the enterprise, but no one should be getting carried away.