updated 09:00 pm EST, Fri January 6, 2012
Popularity in enterprise continues to surprise
Apple's acceptance in the enterprise sector (leading with the iPad and iPhone) has been one of the more surprising changes in the corporate landscape over the past two years, but even more remarkable is data that shows that the revolution appears to be gaining strength. A new global survey done by Forrester Research indicates that the enterprise sector will increase its spending on Apple products by more than 50 percent in 2012.
Despite Apple's nearly-total ignoring of the corporate market, Forrester says the corporate sector will buy $10 billion worth of iPads in 2012, up from $6 billion in 2011, and $9 billion in Macs (up from $6 billion in 2011). The research firm calls the emerging popularity of Apple products in the enterprise "the big surprise of 2011."
The growth in Apple use in the corporate sector has happened, Forrester says, largely because of the move to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as a cost-saving move, which allowed employees to choose what platform they preferred rather than having IT departments dictate to them. As apps and OS support for enterprise needs expanded, companies were more willing to consider Macs as well as the already-popular iOS devices, led by worker preference.
A second factor was smaller companies buying Macs and/or iPads for employees that could use them both at home and work, resulting in higher employee satisfaction, with a third factor of IT departments encouraging employees to go mobile more easily by providing them with iPads and iPhones. Apple has said in conference calls to analysts that 93 percent of the Fortune 500 companies are either testing or deploying iPads, with iPhones enjoying even wider acceptance as an option (an area that used to belong almost exclusively to Research In Motion's Blackberry).
Even more remarkably, Forrester says global corporate spending on Windows-based computers and tablets will decline by small percentages in 2012 and 2013, but that Macs will see an average of 40 percent per year increases during the same period, with iPads enjoying nearly 60 percent average annual increases in spending. The decline in Windows spending may be more due to the increasing percentage of workers who have shifted to mobile devices over desktops rather than any corporate change in OS preferences.
Forrester said it interviewed 46 major IT vendors for the report, and also studied traditionally large corporate or institutional purchasers, including a number of US and international government agencies.