Apple is, without a doubt, one of the single most powerful
driving forces in the world of technology. That being the case, why is its inroad to the enterprise such a long, uphill climb? How could it be that such a
well-oiled machine like the Mac would have problems gaining acceptance into
the larger world of business? Macs are reliable, have the
security and stability of a UNIX-based core, and the integration between software
and hardware cannot be bested.

And yet…

Macs tend to be relegated to the
graphically-inclined departments and multi-media tasks. You won’t
walk into an enterprise-level company to see a farm of iMacs and Macbooks on
desks. There are reasons for that. In fact, I would hypothesize that there are two very
crucial areas that Apple could focus on to improve its presence in the larger
companies across the globe. Let’s examine those areas.

Cost

There’s no way around the fact that Apple hardware has a significantly
higher cost than the standard fare. That cost ensures that you are getting not
only impeccable design, but outstanding integration and long-lasting hardware. However, no matter how beautiful or long-lasting that hardware is, big businesses aren’t
buying it. Why? Simple… the cost. If your business has a budget of X, and X would
buy you 100 PC-based machines vs. 60 Macs, which route are you going to
take? Of course you’d take the route that gets you the most for less. That’s how businesses work.
Apple, on the other hand, wants everyone to pay that price because, in the end,
you get what you pay for.

Organizations that pay less for the PC know that they’re
getting the Windows platform, which will suffer the slings and arrows of
malware, viruses, and the like. What those businesses don’t quite seem to
understand is that, in the end, the cost associated with deploying
Windows-based PCs evens out with the Mac. Add to that the difference in
shelf-life between Macs and PCs, and you can see that, not only does the
difference balance out, the scales seem to tip to Macs at being the more
cost-effective solution.

But big business doesn’t always think “in the long run.” Companies want immediate returns to empower their bottom line in the now — not
in an unknown future. What’s fascinating about this issue is that most big
businesses will opt for the pricier iPad over the Android tablet — but when it
comes to the PC or laptop, the PC still dominates.

Apple does have a Volume Purchase Program for Business. Unfortunately, that program is for iOS apps and books, not hardware. In order for
Apple to make serious progress in the enterprise, this has to change. Apple
needs to swallow its pride and ego and understand that, in order for big
businesses to open their minds (and wallets), it’s going to have to develop a
volume pricing model for iMacs and Macbooks.

Think like Windows

I’m not talking about the Windows platform per say. What I
mean is simple: The Windows platform is built for business. This is especially
true on the server level. With Active Directory, you can create an ideal
structure with which to manage your staff’s login, security levels, and much
more. The Apple platform includes LDAP, which does a great job with handling the
sign-in duties for a heterogenous network. What it does not have is the ability
to manage group policies. There are third-party solutions that can handle this
task, but Apple needs it built in. In fact, I would go so far as to say what
Apple really needs is to develop the equivalent of group policy and roll it
into LDAP.  This would go a very long way
to help business adoption of Mac in the enterprise. 

Apple could even go a few steps
further and roll together an Enterprise Server Edition of OS X that would include things like:

  • Web server
  • Exchange-equivalent mail server
  • Group Policy
  • Certificate server
  • Terminal server

If you coupled the above list with the new Mac Pro, Apple would have a major
powerhouse of a business server, and larger companies would be remiss to not
give Apple a try.

Apple isn’t really all that far from slipping into the
enterprise. By taking on the above two issues, the hippest tech company on the
planet could do some major damage to Microsoft’s marketshare within the enterprise world. But until they make such changes, Apple desktops and laptops
will have to be happy being relegated to small companies and individuals.