A funny thing happened during Apple’s transition from a consumer technology company run by co-founder Steve Jobs, to a machine-like, enterprise savvy, and predictable technology company run by corporate IT guy and CEO Tim Cook.
Apple, the company once synonymous with the Mac, the company that made clever gadgets and computers for artists, has become the darling of corporate CIOs and a proud, albeit newly minted, member of the enterprise supply chain.
What Business Wants
How did Apple go from Mac and iPod maker to the favored mobile device vendor of enterprise and corporate IT units. By doing what both enterprise and consumers want. Build. Better. Products.
Businesses want a variety of features from their vendors. Dependability. Stability. Predictability. Security. And products that their employees want to use. Think about that last one for a moment. That’s how Apple got into the corporate world in the first place. Employees wanted iPhones and not BlackBerrys.
That was all the wedge Apple really needed to pry open the business doors. Employees wanted to use their iPhones– or a company iPhone– at work, and many hated the cumbersome Crack-berry and Windows Phones, so the iPhone was a welcome relief.
BYOD (bring your own device) became a trend in the corporate world, thanks to the iPhone. But enterprise IT groups need more than just a simple interface. They need, want, and are willing to pay for the aforementioned dependability, stability, predictability, and security. Almost without anyone paying attention, CEO Tim Cook made sure Apple would provide want the enterprise and corporate IT groups demand.
Dependability – iPhone, iPad, and Mac are premium products encased in aluminum, and running premium components which often last far longer than cheap and plastic. OS X and iOS provide dependable platforms for applications; whether created in-house or by third parties.
Stability – Every year Apple improves the product line in a dependable, almost machine-like way. Yet, the entire product line remains familiar; a method which makes training and updating easier on Apple’s products than any other, including Windows and Android.
Predictability – Businesses know exactly what they have and what’s coming down the line, yet Apple maintains a degree of secrecy. IT knows Macs will be upgraded annually, and new versions of OS X and iOS will be announced in the spring and available in the early fall, so there is plenty of time to make needed adjustments.
Security – Microsoft’s infamous Windows became a digital version of Swiss cheese, an OS filled with holes, multiple and sometimes incompatible versions of Office, and a place for malware to root and spread. Apple’s iOS is a cultivated platform with far greater security. OS X’s reputation for both ease of use and security makes it the top choice among professionals and IT groups appreciate that Mac’s just don’t need the security paranoia so present with Windows PCs.
Tim Cook says Apple’s products bring in $25-billion a year in revenue and the number is growing fast. When did this transition from consumer gadget maker to IT darling begin? Under Tim Cook, himself a product of the corporate IT environment, but Apple built in all the components that enterprise wants, while making Mac, iPhone, and iPad remain the user friendly consumer product.
Apple leads all others combined in personal use mobile device enterprise sales with iPhone, iPad, and to a lesser degree, the Mac, which continues to gain marketshare and grow sales, despite the downward trend in the traditional PC business.
Who’s to blame for Apple’s successes in the enterprise? Tim Cook. The IT guy.