Macs are muscling into the enterprise

A number of Mac companies have joined forces to push for the adoption of Macs in a Windows-dominated Enterprise world. The companies have formed the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA).

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Several Mac companies have joined forces to push for the adoption of Macs in a Windows-dominated Enterprise world.

The companies, including Atempo, Centrify, Group Logic, LANrev and Parallels, have formed the Enterprise Desktop Alliance (EDA) in an attempt to show organisations how to integrate Macs into their Windows-based environment, while reducing the total cost of ownership.

They could be knocking at an open door, according to a new survey of US businesses by analysts Yankee Group.

Yankee Group found "significant, steady and sustained adoption of Mac and OS X Leopard in the enterprise". According to the survey of 700 global IT administrators and C-level executives, approximately 80 percent of the businesses have installed Macintoshes and the OS X operating system in their network.

"As the consumerisation of the enterprise continues and as ubiquitous connectivity takes hold, empowering employees with the tools that help facilitate anywhere connectivity becomes key," said Laura DiDio, research fellow, Yankee Group.

"Apple's strong marks in security, features, performance, usability and reliability are indicative of the qualities customers' value when purchasing hardware and operating system software."

According to the report, nearly one-quarter of the survey respondents have a significant number of Macs installed. The report also enumerates the technical and business benefits of using Macs.

"We all heard from our customers that we should be working together,"

Peter Frankl, Founder of LANrev, on of the companies behind the Enterprise Desktop Alliance told Computerworld UK's sister title Macworld. "Once we started talking we realised that all of our customers were saying the same thing."

While bringing Mac-focused companies together will certainly help the group show organisations that Mac and Windows can co-exist, there are still some hurdles to overcome.

"Interest in the Mac at large organizations is growing along with Apple's market share," said Bob O'Donnell, vice president at IDC. "The challenge has been overcoming objections surrounding managing Macs within these corporate environments."

Frankl said that more companies these days are allowing employees to choose the computer they want to use. With the popularity of the Mac, it is a growing choice, which forces executives to find a way to integrate them into the corporate environment.

But it's not just Macs that have brought this issue to the fore in recent months. Adoption of the iPhone by employees and executives alike has put pressure on IT to find a workable solution for integration.

One way the group plans to help is through education. The EDA will host a series of events, including webcasts and seminars, and will provide white papers, product information and other resources on the EDA website.

"Efforts that can make life easier for the IT professional and help the Mac become a more appealing and realistic alternative within the enterprise could help turn that interest into a stronger Mac presence," said O'Donnell.

Jim Dalrymple and Johny Evans write for Macworld

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