iPhone and iPad mean Apple shines in the enterprise

Apple, the iPhone company, also makes Macs -- and as recent Gartner and IDC figures show, these are selling in record quantities -- this morning a fresh report confirms that Apple has finally begun invading the enterprise.

[This story is from the new Apple Holic blog at Computerworld. Subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.]

ITIC Corp. in association with Sunbelt Software this morning published details of its  third annual survey of enterprise technology managers.

The survey confirms "accelerating interest" in deploying Macs and iPhones within enterprise set-ups.

Why?

Because it looks like those enterprise users are finally waking up to take notice that performance, reliability and security is much, much better on Apple devices, particularly OS X Macs and iPhones (when Apple's on top of the design SNAFUs).

Indeed, when noting public reaction to the widespread reports of iPhone signal problems, the researchers noted that most people weren't overly concerned and looked to Apple to address the flaws.

But when it comes to getting Macs into the boardrooms, things really have changed. Apple today is more than the Mac (though Mac sales are up a rather attractive 37 per cent).

"Eight out of 10 organizations said they are "more likely to allow more users to deploy Macintoshes as their enterprise desktops" in 2010-2011, up from 68 percent in the 2009 survey," the researchers said.

I'm impressed that a substantive 82 percent of survey participants told the survey they use their iPhone to access corporate email and data.

Not just the iPhone and Mac. As I've said before, the iPad is grabbing a slice of the business market.

-- Astonishingly, 23 per cent (that's nearly one in four) of IT managers told the survey that they had already purchased or ordered the new Apple tablet.

-- Another 18 percent said they would within the next nine months. 51 percent aren't committed to a purchase yet, while 8 percent of the survey group are just waiting for prices to fall.

Almost everyone (86%) who already has an iPad uses it for both business and pleasure.

The user experience on Apple products is part of the attraction. Another element is the relative lack of technical issues.

The survey asked: 'How often do you or your business experience technical issues with Apple products/devices?'

Results
  • 12%, Never had problems
  • 50%, Rarely experience problems
  • 20%, Occasionally (every few months)
  • 5%,  Once a month
  • 6%,  Two or three times a month
  • 5%,  Once a week
  • 2%,  Daily  

These patterns reflect a sustained period of growing popularity for Apple among enterprise users, the researchers said.

"The growing popularity of Apple products in the personal lives of IT managers is having a continued spill-over effect in the enterprise," says tech analyst, Laura DiDio.

That effect is only going to become more powerful after today's Apple media event, when the company will be seen responding decisively and with good transparency to the claims.

It is likely Apple will explain the root of the iPhone signal flaws and tell us what it plans to do to address it.

With the world’s media watching Apple’s response with its most critical eyes, the company has a chance -- if it plays the game correctly -- to consolidate its position and foster a greater bond with its consumers as a company to trust. If it has good answers -- if it has bad answers, then even contrite admission can switch the loyalty button to 'on'.

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