How to Prepare for The Apple Enterprise Invasion

By Ronnie Exley, Vice President of Business Development, Aqua Connect

Over the past few weeks, I received multiple emails from long-time customers and partners directing me to a recent VMware blog entry titled "The Apple Enterprise Invasion". Posted on June 30th, it provides the results of a VMware commissioned survey of 376 IT professionals along with analysis of those results from Erik Frieberg, VP of Marketing, End-User Computing at VMware. According to the e-mails that I received, Aqua Connect was the answer to many of the questions that this survey raised about Mac OS X and Apple devices in the enterprise.

Frieberg's analysis concludes, and rightfully so, that Macs are experiencing tremendous growth in the enterprise as BYOPC and BYOD (we call it BYOM "Bring Your Own Mac" around here) become common practice for IT at the enterprise level. This wasn't a new revelation to us, as we work with many of the organizations that were at the forefront of supporting Macs as far back as ten years ago. It's also a trend that Gartner recognized back in 2011 when they selected Aqua Connect as one of their "Cool Vendors" due to our ability to provide Mac OS X to end users in the enterprise. While Mac OS X and Apple devices continue to expand their footprint in businesses (and this is before the big Apple and IBM partnership takes flight), there are challenges that IT administrators have to meet to support these BYOM devices. Frieberg suggests using virtual Windows desktops (delivered by Fusion Professional in this case) to appease the growing majority of Mac users. While delivering Windows desktops and applications to users on a Mac can allow IT administrators to more easily accept Macs in the enterprise, it doesn't provide an answer to the most interesting and important findings from the survey. Let's take a look:

73% of IT professionals said that "user preference" was why their organization started supporting Macs. The second most common response (but not any less important) was that these IT professionals had to support applications that only ran on Macs. Here's the problem with only delivering Windows apps and desktops to this growing Mac user base in the enterprise; 1) Mac users are a fussy bunch (it's a point of pride really) and they are not going to be appeased with virtual Windows versions of their preferred Mac apps, and 2) this doesn't address the issue of supporting Mac-only applications. Friedberg offers some interesting analysis that describes Mac users perfectly; "end-users will work around corporate IT if they don't get their way." Giving Mac users Windows applications is not their way- it's the antithesis of what they want. Luckily for IT professionals, Aqua Connect has the solution to both of those problems, and it's been enterprise proven and deployed for the past seven years. But don't take our word for it, the attendees and press of VMWorld in 2010 nominated us for "Best of VMWorld" in desktop virtualization, so we must have been doing something right all this time.

Aqua Connect Remote Desktop Services for Mac provides IT administrators with the ability to deploy Mac desktops and applications seamlessly to end users from centrally managed servers. Imagine if the IT professionals who took this survey had a solution available to them that could deliver Mac OS X desktops and applications to end users on any device (including Windows machines).  Aqua Connect provides that functionality with a multitude of added benefits that will make both end users and IT administrators happy.  Instead of simply telling Mac users that you are going to turn their $1500 device of choice into a dumb terminal for Windows applications, IT professional can actually give BYOM users what they really want- Mac OS X!

The survey found that 73% of employees want to use a Mac because they are easier to use compared to PCs.  Simply put, end users are more productive on Macs.  Delivering virtual Windows desktops and applications will not make those users more productive- a Windows app is a Windows app, regardless of the logo on the back of the device.   IT administrators on the other side felt that Macs were not easier to support than Windows PCs.  For the most part they are right!   Without Aqua Connect's solutions, IT professionals are left with only a handful of tools to properly manage Macs and none provide a centrally managed solution such as VMware Fusion or offerings from Citrix like XenApp and XenDesktop.  Aqua Connect provides that central server-based solution to allow IT professionals to deliver Mac desktops and applications securely from servers that are easily managed.  Employees get to use whatever device they want, and IT professionals get to deliver Mac or Windows desktops side-by-side.   Everyone is happy, and that includes the people signing the checks because Aqua Connect Remote Desktop Services lowers the cost of deployment by 60-80% compared to purchasing new Apple hardware.

The survey found that 89% of IT professionals stated it would be valuable to have a virtual desktop that can run Windows on a Mac. Just imagine the response if you asked those same IT professionals if having a virtual desktop that can run OS X on any device including Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and Mac was valuable!  Don't imagine it, because it's a reality that organizations are deploying to their end users everyday with Aqua Connect solutions.  Now imagine if the question was this; "Would it be valuable to have the ability to deliver both virtual Mac and Windows desktops to run on any device?" There's your first 100% response.  With Aqua Connect solutions and Windows virtual desktop solutions from companies such as VMware and Citrix, this is a reality that can be deployed at organizations around the world today.

We welcome the rise of Mac OS X in the enterprise and we are ready to help IT professionals meet the demands of their end users- we've been doing it for years.

Read the full survey and analysis from VMware here:

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