First off I think Gartner is just about as useful as a bag of hammers. They style themselves as a company that somehow assumes that it can set precedent. Much in the way that people over-rely on snopes when it comes to debunking urban myths and internet memes, IT management over-rely on Gartner to do their thinking for them. The best way to evaluate isn’t to listen to some murky third-party but to talk to your network of peers and see what they recommend. If any of my peers asked me, I’d tell them the same thing I’ve been preaching for years – not only does Apple belong in the Enterprise space, but they should be absolutely dominating it!
Why do I say that? Because purchasing Macs and supporting these machines is a breeze in comparison to the nightmare existence of being stuck with Microsoft Windows. The cost of Macs are slightly higher than their PC counterparts however my argument is that even if the initial outlay is higher, you make that difference up and then a boatload more in the long term when you realize that the machines are built exceptionally well and in-and-of-themselves work almost flawlessly. Much of this is all about the Apple way of doing things, the computers are built with the OS in mind and the OS is built with the computers in mind. There aren’t any “Third Party” drivers or bloatware shipped with a Mac. Everything comes from Apple and you have the option of buying third party apps, but they are primarily mediated through the App Store. This irks a lot of people, especially the open-source types who get bent whenever they even catch a whiff that there is control over their online experience whatsoever. I have abandoned the open-source group and I’ll tell you why. Open source is meant for computer geeks, the people who professionally understand their computers on a very intimate and personal level – and these people are not the majority. The majority of people don’t give a damn about what is inside a computer, they just want to get their work done with a minimum of fuss and muss. Having Apple stand in as a traffic cop, or perhaps a better metaphor would be big brother is actually a very wonderful thing. The open-source mavens would chide me for being a bird in a golden cage, well, this nightengale is one very happy bird. I love my Apple cage. Because Apple stands guard on the App Store I don’t have to worry about sourcing applications, or the quality of those applications. Apple does all the gumshoe work for me! It’s a kind of executive abstraction that I absolutely love. Sandbox those apps, screw the developers to the wall, prevent them from being so clever that everything shakes to pieces and flies apart! It’s all about safety and sanity. I feel safe, so I am sane.
The other big point that I like to make about living in the Apple Golden Cage is that supporting 60 Macintosh computers is an absolute cakewalk! iChat runs and users can instant message, trade files, and request help using the iChat interface! Every once in a while iChat lets me down, I admit it isn’t perfect, but to cover the deficits of iChat (and I suspect it has more to do with our junky in-the-wall-behind-lock-and-key network, sorry guys) there is Apple Remote Desktop, or ARD. I love ARD. After I use ARD I want to seek out the team that wrote it and do favors for them. I want to hug them, I want to shower them with money, I want to buy them expensive beers and liquors and as many ladies-and-gentlemen-of-the-mid-afternoon as I can. This tool is heaven in a box. I can see each workstation and I can do whatever I like to each station! I don’t have to walk, sit down in the users chair, and upset them. As a sideline benefit, I don’t have to be exposed to their questionable hygiene or unique biology which helps me not get sick by having to use their keyboard and mouse. Support this way is heaven because the user can either hop on iChat or we can use the phone and ARD and they don’t have to stop and wait for me to walk out to see them and lose their train of thought. It’s good for the support staff, it’s good for the users, what isn’t to love?
When you sit back and think about all the technology and refinement and attention to detail that goes into Apple products, that they “just work” and do so with a minimum of fuss and muss, that they haven’t spread like wildfire in the enterprise segment baffles me. The only thing I can think of to align what I see in the world versus the absurdity of it is that people must be addicted to suffering with their technology. They accept that Windows is a headache, that it never works properly, that it lets you down just when you need it the most, and that it’s a nightmare to support. When I left Windows professionally it was like a breath of fresh air in a room previously filled with noxious fumes. It felt *exactly* like that! Even to this day when I hear coworkers pining for Windows I look at them like they are aliens that fell off the turnip truck. Are you seriously telling me that you’d prefer to go back to using the reboot-several-times-a-day oops-your-files-are-corrupted we’re-going-to-need-to-reformat-every-six-weeks way of life? Seriously? Now that we have Macs, and when I run into this sentiment it strikes me as a deeply upsetting thing that people actively seek out suffering and revel in it. We’re using Macs, if you want to suffer here’s a hammer, just smack yourself in the head with it and you’ll get your fix!