But the loyalty index on Slide 5 is where the story is really told. Here Apple dominates the other vendors, suggesting that while Dell, HP and Lenovo trade customers, Apple will consistently acquire and hold them, assuring stronger growth at the top of the company and stronger executive advocacy. This advocacy should not only help with acquisition, but with desktop hardware and software replacement cycles, given it is at this level that large budgets, like those required for PC replacement, are approved. This continues on Slide 6 where it is clear that Dell and HP owners believe that Apple is the strongest alternative, while Apple owners think nothing is comparable. It is interesting to note that HP owners like Dell, but Dell owners aren't big HP fans. That suggests Dell is doing a great job of targeting HP, but HP may be ignoring CXOs to its detriment.
On Slide 8, CXOs indicate that they decide which brand they will carry which, when tied to the other numbers, showcases this risk. Slide 7's satisfaction scores indicate that they are happiest with the Apple choice. CXOs tend to watch each other closely and when one finds something that works, others will emulate that decision very rapidly. That portends a broader Apple adoption at the top than we have already seen. This is driven home on Slide 11 where it is clear the CXOs are rapidly becoming loyal Apple users and advocates. And where CXOs go, their companies are likely to follow.
Wrapping Up: Apple Moving into an Enterprise Near You
If this study is accurate, the results tell powerful stories suggesting Apple's Macs are moving into the enterprise much like RIM did from the top. Given Apple products are premium priced, this suggests that CXOs can be sold on higher quality, higher margin, and premium offerings while an excessive focus on price and IT is a long-term losing strategy. Of the major players in the enterprise, Dell was clearly best and Lenovo the most at risk based on this survey. It was interesting to note that Toshiba, once dominant in notebooks, almost fell off the list, showing that continued dominance by any vendor isn't assured.
This study doesn't show, however, what might happen if Apple were to focus on IT just enough to turn those folks into advocates as well. That might be the nightmare scenario for Dell and HP. In any case, Apple is clearly moving into the enterprise the old-fashioned way by focusing on the user -- in this case, it's the CXO -- and leveraging that user to build a market.