Apple in the Enterprise: Strong Now, Stronger in the Future

Carl Weinschenk
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It wasn’t too long ago that Apple wasn’t much of a player in the enterprise sector. That has changed, of course, with incredible speed due to two interrelated transitions: the consumerization of business devices and increasing popularity of mobility.

The extent of Apple’s success in the enterprise is illustrated by research commissioned by JAMF Software and conducted by Dimensional Research. The firm found that nine out of 10 companies officially support Apple products and virtually all (98 percent) expect Apple’s presence in their business to grow by 25 percent during the next three years. The study’s results validate the conclusion that in a comparatively short period of time, Apple has enmeshed itself broadly and deeply in the fabric of the enterprise.

One of the key takeaways from the Dimensional work is that Apple’s presence will grow longer over time. The Next Digit outlines some of the enterprise-friendly features of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, which Apple released at The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference last week in San Francisco. The features are Wi-Fi Calling, device enrollment, openness to third-party enterprise apps, the use of security passcodes for apps, enhanced IT management tools, QuickType, the ability to use third-party keyboards and an enterprise-grade mail app.

The ascendency of Apple in the enterprise isn’t going unchallenged, of course. One of the latest moves was by Google. Last month, the company bought Divide, a cloud-based mobile device management company. FierceMobileIT suggests that the Google acquisition “is seen as a move by the search giant to translate Android's popularity in the consumer market into uptake in the enterprise market, particularly for BYOD environments.”

Android relies on device manufacturers to employ their own approaches to security. That uncertainty isn’t consistent to the way in which enterprises work. Divide is an attempt to move to a broader and more standardized approach. Writes Fred Donovan:

Android reputation for being a fragmented and insecure operating system has definitely hurt its penetration of the enterprise market. As part of Google, Divide will give Android a more secure and manageable face for CIOs and IT departments considering or implementing BYOD programs.

The enterprise in general and enterprise mobility in particular will continue to be a vibrant playing field. Security is perhaps the key turf in the battle. James Seibel at App Developer Magazine compares the approach to mobile device management (MDM) taken by iOS and Android. The differences are stark. Though the Divide deal is not mentioned, Seibel’s piece can be seen as illustrating why Google thought the move was prudent.

The enterprise is looking great for Apple: BlackBerry is struggling to survive and Microsoft, which of course is well established in the back-end infrastructure sub-category, is still a marginal mobile player. Apple’s biggest mobile competitor is Android, which is struggling to make its products secure enough to pass muster with CIOs and CTOs.

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