Yankee Group's Howe points out that, unlike 10 years ago, today many tech-savvy users believe they have technology at home that is far superior to what they use at work. Companies looking to attract these users are beginning to get the message that they should loosen up their sourcing practices to give them the platforms they want -- and Macs make up a big percentage of them.
The related trend that favors the adoption of Macs in business is the blurred line between life and work computing. "It's getting less and less feasible for IT to separate home and work computing like it used to. Our business and consumer lifestyles, in which people work at the office six to eight hours a day, go home early to pick up sick kids at school or eat dinner, then work two or three hours more at night, have blended far too much," says Bajarin.
Road warriors have grown less tolerant of IT's efforts to prevent them from bringing their personal applications and files with them. "People just don't want to have to switch devices to go on the road," says Gray. "They want to be able to take along their personal life." IT departments have started to acknowledge these changes and look at ways to satisfy their users' needs.
What can a Mac do in business beyond graphics?
At the end of the day, a computer at the office has to support the business's work needs. Can a Mac really run the applications and connect to the systems that businesses need users to access?
It turns out that the Mac can run a large swatch of business applications, not just the graphics and publishing applications for which it's best known. Even if IT doesn't yet know that, many tech-savvy users do.
For example, Macs fit very well in software development and marketing, where a Mac with Windows and Linux VMs can test and demonstrate software in just about any OS. That's why many developers prefer Macs.
In sales and marketing, many users much prefer Apple's Keynote instead of Microsoft's PowerPoint as a presentation tool, as well as Pages instead of Word as a document-creation tool. "I've always found that working with graphics and different layouts is far easier and quicker in Pages than in Word," says John Welsh, a senior systems engineer for the Zimmerman and Partners ad agency.