Case Study of Apple Inc: An Apple for Your Enterprise

Apple Macs have made their way out of the art department and into the offices of accountants, salespeople, manufacturing planners and top executives. “We’re seeing more requests outside of creative services to switch to Macs from PCs,” notes David Plavin, operations manager for Mac systems engineering at the U.S. it division of Public Group SA, a global advertising conglomerate. For it managers across all industries – even those with a well established and stalwart Windows user base – the question is no longer whether you’ll need to design and support a Mac computing strategy. the only question is how quickly. You may already be a little late to the game. According to Forrester, business adoption of Macs tripled last year. What’s more, this will surely accelerate as companies hire more Gen Y workers. Coming through the door in those backpacks are a slew of consumer technologies and wireless personal productivity tools — think iPhone. Some users are finding that switching to Macs can even save money — lots of it. Auto Warehousing Co. (AWC) in tacoma, Wash., is pulling the plug on all Windows-based PCs and powering up Macs to execute virtually all of its revenue-generating operations.

In september, 2008, Apple Inc.’s Mac Os X market share passed the 8% mark for the first time, according to data collected by net Applications. Apple’s operating system ran on 8.2% of the computers that accessed the 40,000 sites monitored for clients by Net Applications. The Mac’s share of the operating system market was up over August’s by nearly four-tenths of a percentage point, the biggest one-month gain since May. In the last two years, Mac OS X’s share has increased by 3 percentage points, a gain of 58%. Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, meanwhile, continued to slip in market share last month. Overall, Windows accounted for 90.3% of the operating systems powering the machines that accessed Net Applications’ metric network, a drop of 0.4 percentage points from August, when the operating system fell by nearly the same amount from July. That month was the last time that Windows maintained or grew its share. Since the beginning of this year, Windows has lost 1.5 percentage points in market share.

As the largest full-service auto processing company in North America, AWC has 23 sites across the U.S. and Canada and handles 5.5 million cars a year. Switching to Macs will save the company $1.82 million over three years, according to Cio Dale Frantz. that’s what it would have cost to upgrade software licenses if the company had stayed on PCs. in contrast, the total cost of switching to Macs was $335,000. “this is more of a strategic choice for the future,” says Frantz. “By investing in the Apple platform, we pick up additional functionality that we don’t have today,” he says. Frantz also says Macs are ready for business prime time. “on the whole,” he adds, “what we’re finding is this stuff just works. We’re at a point where we can deploy it companywide.” Other key factors driving Mac adoption include the rise of Web based computing via software-as-eservice applications, which for the most part are platform-agnostic. The rise of virtualization, as well as Apple inc’s shift toward standardized PC components, has also cleared the way for greater corporate Mac use. Indeed, experts say the Mac fits much better than it ever has before in the enterprise, and the trend toward cloud computing is reducing the importance of the client platform to access both internal and external resources.

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