Apple

Businesses smart to accommodate Apple products powering BYOD trend

Erik Eckel offers his perspective on Apple's rise in business over the years, and its success in driving the BYOD trend.

I remain humble. Honest. But back in 2005, possessing numerous Microsoft certifications and responsible for developing and publishing technical Windows content for hundreds of thousands of information technology professionals, I realized Mac OS X was an appealing, approachable and impressive-performing OS.

I remember I owned two laptops. One was an HP business-class unit. The other was an Apple G4 PowerBook. I'd not used a Mac in a decade. Back in the mid 90s, I'd found the PowerBook 190 my employer issued capable of supporting basic word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation tasks. It even managed email passably, but I don't recall being overly impressed with the Apple computer then the way I was with my Toshiba Satellite Pro featuring Windows 95.

The Mac quickly won me over, however, in 2005. I had been beta testing Windows Vista, which was scheduled to replace Microsoft's aging XP platform, and I didn't like the performance, configuration, or general operation of Redmond's impending release. In fact, I believe I ended up loading Red Hat Linux on that HP, instead. But I digress.

Mac OS X, possessing more secure code, an easy-to-use and intuitive interface and surprising performance, led me to begin extolling its virtues. Imagine my genuine surprise, then, when I was immediately attacked. The vitriol, bitterness and contempt I experienced writing of my appreciation and fondness for Mac OS X remains one of the larger disappointments of my professional life. I felt I'd discovered a great new tool in Mac OS X, even if I was a little late to the party, but found that my opinion and experiences with the platform were being discarded out of hand with no regard to their veracity by many biased, tendentious IT professionals.

Sweet vindication

Of course, I was not alone. Apple's market share, fueled in part by such proponents as The Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg and The New York Times' David Pogue, quickly grew. Then came the evolutionary iPhone and the iPad, which resurrected the entire tablet market while simultaneously killing the underpowered, undersized netbook fad. Apple would go on to sell some 100 million iPads and hundreds of millions of iPhones.

Users discovered what Mr. Mossberg, Mr. Pogue, so many others and I have been proclaiming. Apple devices make it easier to complete the digital tasks today's competitive business environment and frenetic personal lives require. For years many IT departments resisted accommodating and supporting users' personal devices, but that's all changed. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) shift that most all organizations are either now embracing or inexplicably battling is due in large part to Apple's innovation and popular devices.

Organizations embracing Apple devices can thrive

No longer should firms, regardless of size and industry, view iPhones, iPads and even Macs as detrimental, risky or unproven. In fact, users are introducing these devices to the enterprise whether IT departments want them or not. And users are doing so because the Apple technologies-notably iPads and iPhones-better enable fulfilling job requirements, professional responsibilities, and operational tasks than previously issued technologies.

A Frost & Sullivan survey revealed organizations are deploying iPads in attempts to add efficiencies, improve customer satisfaction, drive sales and shorten sales cycles, among other benefits. Numerous other studies suggest these benefits are being realized. A recent Telework Exchange study suggests mobile devices used within the federal government are providing nine hours a week of productivity savings. Another study conducted by Nucleus Research concluded sales personnel that leverage mobile apps boost productivity by 14.6 percent.

Regardless of industry, regardless of organization size, the statistics are compelling. Mobile devices, and particularly Apple-specific technologies as evidenced by iPhone and iPad popularity and the sheer number of apps (almost one million) written for the iOS platform and downloaded some 40 billion times, empower businesses. Certainly, Apple devices are already proving the capacity to help save lives within the healthcare field. Businesses need only choose to accept and accommodate the devices, lest I say encourage them, to begin realizing the benefits.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

6 comments
tangoev
tangoev

A number of our clients have deployed iPads to solve business problems where a PC would never have work due to the mobile demands and long battery life requirements. Others in these companies have witnessed the ease of use and started using their own IPad in the office for browsing and emailing. As the population has grown so has the demand for more custom applications to tie the workforce together. BYOD seems to be here more and more and the vast majority are Apple.

radleym
radleym

...it shifts costs onto the backs of employees and off the books of the business. Period.

markavo
markavo

BYOD is great but most every network that's accomodating BYOD is doing so with either: Web applications Virtualized desktop/applications Enterprise app development Of those three, the only 1 that extols any of the "greatness" of an Apple product is the App's themselves! That is easily matched by Android in each area and is a reason why mobile is thriving. But to discount that a desktop, even a virtual one, isn't necessary is to do so at a businesses peril. Until iDevices and Android devices can be world class content creators in and of themselves, the desktop isn't going anywhere. It also means that IT departments are allowing BYOD but only because virtualization is powerful, not because the mobile devices solve problems in and of themselves.

CompZone9
CompZone9

I mostly agree and think it is a great thing happening. I see them everywhere. However, one thing I've learned over the years is that statements that begin with "All..." and "Every..." and "Regardless of industry..." are rarely fit for "All" or "Every". There is always an exception. Yes. Always. (there, I did it too). Case in point; defense contractors like where I work. Obviously devices that take pictures and can transmit wirelessly are not allowed in classified areas and not even in the building without approvals, training, and signing your life away. So please, next time use more accurate words like "Nearly all" or "Almost all". Enthusiasm for technology sometimes has a tendency to overlook the obvious.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You extol the fact that many apps available for iOS are also available to Android and I won't disagree with that. However, when apps by the same name and from the same author are placed side-by-side the iOS version is reported by most reviewers as feeling more 'complete' or 'finished'; in other words, more attention to detail in the iOS version. So yes, downloaded apps are a factor. Web apps, on the other hand, are less of one. Sure, any browser can access web apps and they can do many if not most of the same tasks, but now your network overhead is massively increased--especially when you're using the device remotely and have limited, if any, network access. This is where the downloaded app especially shines. Virtualized desktop is little different from Web Apps--you're still network intensive if not more so because now you're using a networked access to a device that itself uses network access to perform its tasks; double overhead. Enterprise app development is really the more efficient means. The app can be made to meet the enterprise's individual needs without having to rely on more generalized applications that may be too much or too little for that particular business. Years ago--not long after the iPhone itself first came out, some businesses were already looking at how they could best use these devices. As of now, iOS devices are by far more accepted by the enterprise itself due to its relative security and--believe it or not--walled garden approach to app installation. While some of these businesses also develop Android apps for their customers, they're not readily accepting them within their network environments.

Stalemate
Stalemate

With the increase in Apple-centric, skewed, and downright misleading articles at Tech Republic, I'm reconsidering the validity of their analysis on other matters as well. This is a thinly veiled advertisment, IMO. Android's presence in the workplace is increasing at a faster rate than that of Apple products (phones and tablets), yet this article would have us believe businesses are only considering Apple products. Apple products alone aren't powering the BYOD trend. Android and BlackBerry also have a presence, and quite possibly a larger one too. They're not just as adept at spinning numbers as Apple is. http://www.cultofandroid.com/18964/apple-ipad-loses-market-share-to-android-tablets-report/

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