Does Windows still makes sense for your business?

The iron grip of the ancient Wintel hegemony is contracting, as evidenced by Michael Dell’s $24 billion acquisition of himself and declining Windows sales.

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This crack in the Windows curtain may turn out to be an opportunity for enterprise users to explore new ways of doing business technology — a well-timed seismic shift in the status quo, given the ever-growing capability of mobile devices and BYOD.

Post-PC, Apple and the cloud 

There’s been lots of talk of the ‘Post-PC’ era, in which connected, cloud-compliant mobile device replace many of the uses one’s PC or Mac may once have filled in for. You see signals of this everywhere, from relatively dumb devices carried by delivery firms to the increasing number of iPads on aircraft flight decks.

The trend is also driving new acceptance of Apple among enterprise IT departments, a recent Gartner report claims.

“Mobility has always been a separate topic for IT professionals, but it is now influencing mainstream strategies and tactics in the wider areas of technology enablement and enterprise architectures,” says Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Increasingly, enterprises are finding that they need to support multiple platforms, especially as the [bring your own device] BYOD trend gains momentum.”

That’s a sea change for established assumption concerning enterprise computing. “Although Apple’s mobile iPhone and iPads are already as accepted by enterprise IT as is Microsoft, Apple’s Mac systems for laptops/notebooks and desktops remain not commonly accepted by IT,” says Gartner Fellow and vice president David Mitchell Smith .

“Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerisation and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand.”

This is another big deal for any company looking to upgrade its ageing business technology, begging the question: should it invest in Windows 8 PCs and devices, even though workers don’t use these platforms, or invest in the kit employees are already buying and using themselves, principally iPads, iPhones, Macs and Android devices?

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Changing environment

What’s happening here is the side effect of consumerisation within the sector:

Microsoft’s solutions do indeed have loyal followers within that company’s enterprise heartlands, but among those who work for such enterprises, it’s Apple that holds hearts. This suggests enterprise buyers should be prepared for more Apple computers and devices to take peer position on their networks.

In a sense, of course, the systems which actually get used in the enterprise seems to matter less than it did before. The rise of mobile devices is giving a huge boost to software as service and intranet providers. Moves in favor of home working, telecommuting, video conferencing and mobile devices means that in an increasing number of cases, enterprises large and small are focusing ever-larger tranches of their computing investments into online storage and retrieval services, Intranets and corporate systems that can be accessed securely online regardless of platform or device.

In other words, the evolving enterprise IT ecosystem is one in which whichever systems are provided should be developed with device agnosticism and the ability to support new solutions built-in from the start.

There’s another advantage, too: as the shift in spend favors mobile devices, most enterprise users can expect to get more life from their existing PC systems.

Ten years ago most businesses operated a two-year upgrade cycle, that’s now increased to four-five years. In future this might even hit eight years (according to Jeffries). This frees up budget to invest in cloud-based, device-agnostic solutions that offer your employees all the most recently updated information all the time.

And, because these post-PC devices are, or should be, constantly connected, this also means that telepresence, video communications and the ability to work from anywhere at any time are becoming a reality. That’s a transformation in the way business works.

We’re deeply immersed in delivering video and mobile business solutions to our customers. If you need advice on deploying Macs or mobile devices within your enterprise, give us a call and we’ll help you figure out the best infrastructure to support the changing enterprise IT landscape not just today, but for tomorrow, too.

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