Growing Up Mac: Taking Apple to the Enterprise1 | 2 |
Finally, virtualization also has led to increased interest in Apple. One organization that has benefited from virtualization of PC applications on Macs is the NIH, Lewis said. “[NIH employees] used to have two computers on their desk: one PC solely for the purpose of ordering supplies and the Mac for everything else.”
With virtualization, the organization was able to eliminate the extra machine and run the PC application on its Macs.
Challenges to Integration
While there are notable benefits to using Macs in the enterprise, there are some hang-ups, as well. A recent Group Logic survey of 350 IT administrators found that their three most pressing concerns in integration were adapting Active Directory to support Macs, the volume of help-desk calls from Mac users and compatibility.
“[The IT department is] worried that bringing in the Mac is either going to compromise something — cause them to have to change something that they believe will be negative — or make a whole lot of new work for them,” Lewis said.
Many organizations cite compatibility problems with certain corporate applications, as well as problems with VPN clients not running as well on Macs as PCs, Lazar said. In addition, many organizations struggle with Apple’s lack of a computer leasing option and lack of desktop support.
“Companies would much rather lease PCs on a three-year lease than they would buy them,” he said. “But with Macs, they have to buy them. [Also], the channel for desktop support [and] the ability to find a third-party organization [is difficult].”
But Lewis stressed that concerns about Mac integration can be overcome. “They’re very important issues, and you need to take care of them,” Lewis said. “But if you look for the right solution, get the solution and put it in place, then you don’t end up with a whole lot of burden. You just need a few tools, and then it’s just as easy to manage as Windows.”
Up-Skilling to Meet Demand
With the renewed interest in Mac, it will be important for companies to ensure their employees have the skills and knowledge to support the integration.
One way for IT professionals to gain increased knowledge in Mac technologies is through one-time training sessions such as Learning Tree’s “Integrating Mac OS X into a Windows Environment.” A more intensive option is to pursue one of Apple’s enterprise certifications. The company’s Training & Certification group offers certs in Mac hardware and diagnosis; OS X server support, architecture and administration; software applications; and trainer knowledge. (Read more about Apple certs here.)
In addition, enterprises seeking solutions to integration issues can reach out to groups that provide support on these issues. One such group is the Enterprise Desktop Alliance, a collaboration of software developers seeking to educate the IT community on Mac integration.
Like it or not, Apple has penetrated the enterprise. And both professionals and organizations can benefit from broadening their skill sets.
“[Today], there’s Windows of all different varieties, there are BlackBerrys, there are iPhones, there’s Cisco, there’s Macintosh stuff, there’s Linux stuff, there’s cloud computing. IT professionals really need to expand their horizons to handle different kinds of technologies,” Lewis said. “In doing so, they’re going to make themselves more valuable — to them and to their employers. So it’s a win all around.”
– Meagan Polakowski, email@example.com | 2 |