Apple is making inroads in the enterprise market according to the New York Times and it's all because consumers are bringing what they use at home to the office.
Corporate IT ecosystems traditionally have been very locked-down allowing employees very little flexibility in what laptops and other devices they can use in an effort to make sure everything runs as smooth as possible. However, Bring Your Own Device programs like Kraft Foods’ give employees the option of a standard laptop configuration or a stipend to simply go out and buy whatever they want. A Forrester Research survey showing that 48 percent of information workers buy smartphones for work without considering I.T. department support shows employee sentiment is moving away from in-house I.T. solutions. This sentiment, and programs like Kraft's equate to Apple making major inroads in the enterprise market.
Apple isn’t the only one benefiting from consumers bringing their own solutions into the workplace. Dropbox, Skype and a bevy of other online-based services originally aimed at consumers are finding their way inside businesses across the country. The movement only makes sense. The people who populate corporations are consumers themselves and it seems logical they would bring the programs they use at home into the office instead of using proprietary software that is often times limiting and frustrating.
Corporate America has had no choice but to accept that their employees are going to increasingly bring their home I.T. into the workplace. Bring Your Own Device programs at Netflix and Citrix Systems have also been wildly successful. Citrix employs 1000 people and 46 percent have purchased a Mac since adopting a BYOD policy.
“That was a little bit of a surprise,” Paul Martine, Citrix Chief information officer, said.
Ben Reitzes, a Barclays Capital Analyst, sees Apple’s growth as a result of their strength in the consumer market. Companies like HP and RIM, longtime stalwarts of the enterprise market, are losing ground because they can’t figure out how to sell to consumers. People don’t want to carry a work phone, and a personal phone or two laptops, and as a result they’re opting to bring home into the workplace and when those people are the higher-ups things change.
"What broke the camel's back was the iPad, because executives brought it into the company and said 'Hey, you've got to support this,'" Ted Schadler of Forrester said.
However, there will always be a market for locked-down and secure I.T. networks. Companies like Wells Fargo’s, and others who demand top-level security wont likely be adopting a BYOD policy anytime soon. But, as Apple gains more of foothold in the consumer market, and Android too, the lines between enterprise and the consumer world will continue to bur for today’s employers. Who knows, maybe even the Pentagon will adopt Apple's devices. I can see a few sweet Jailbreak applications being developed with some DARPA funds.