Apple Products Are a Fine Fit for Enterprise, Says IT Guru [Macworld 2011]

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SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD 2011 — Despite the demise of the xServe, Apple products can be and are a good fit in the enterprise, according to John Welch of the Zimmerman Agency, who spoke on Apple in the Enterprise at the Macworld Industry Forum Wednesday at Macworld 2011.

First of all Apple is not an enterprise company — it is not Microsoft, not Cisco, not IBM.

But Apple doesn’t need to be an enterprise company to be a source of solid products that work well in the Enterprise, said Welch, who spoke from 20 years of experience deploying Apple products in business.

One of the biggest complaints Enterprise IT consultants have is that Apple doesn’t do product Roadmaps.

But, according to Welch, roadmaps are just “very pretty lies that vendors tell themselves.” What Apple does is say, we will sell X product on X date, which is preferable to Welch. “I will take short-term reliability over long-term lies any day.”

If you run a Windows network and you care about 100% feature compatibility, then don’t waste your time on Apple products, Welch told the crowd of about 50 early attendees at the conference, which gets into full swing at San Francisco’s Moscone Center West on Thursday.

But if you care about products that do Enterprise-y things well, then Apple is worth a look.

Most of the opposition to Apple in the Enterprise is rooted in ignorance; “people just don’t know about some of the things Apple products can do,” Welch said.

Of course, the way an IT engineer does things and the way some things are supported are different with Apple products, but that in itself shouldn’t rule Apple products out of a big company’s IT plan.

For its part, Apple doesn’t even try to be a big player in the Enterprise, but MacPros and Mac minis are perfectly serviceable devices which will actually work reliably in a wide range of business environments.

Critics who claim iOS devices can not be integrated into an Enterprise also misunderstand the nature of the platform, said Welch, who pointed out that, with new Enterprise mobile device management features rolled out in iOS 4, integrating iOS devices into an Enterprise is a “solved problem.”

“When people say to me things like, ‘you can’t use Apple in an Enterprise because of the App Store,’ I say, ‘did you even try to learn why that is just wrong?” Welch said, relating that the answer he gets is almost always “no.”

Is Apple a perfect fit for an Enterprise? No. But there is no such thing as a perfect fit, according to Welch, and any IT executive who aspires to provide a company and its employees with some of the most well-made, beautifully designed tools for business makes a mistake in refusing to consider Apple’s Enterprise solutions.

About the author

Lonnie Lazar

Lonnie Lazar is a writer-musician-web designer-attorney. He writes about Apple for Cult of Mac and Mac|Life, and about VoIP and telecommunications for Voxilla. Follow Lonnie on Twitter @LonnieLazar, join the Cult of Mac on Facebook, and find Lonnie's photos on Flickr.

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