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Forrester does a 180 on Macs in enterprise, finds most productive staffers are Mac users

Mel Martin

I'll bet a lot of us have fought the Mac wars in our own companies. I won some, I lost some, so it's especially gratifying to see Forrester Research urging IT to get over itself and enthusiastically support Macs in the enterprise.

A new report from the research company, authored by senior analyst David K. Johnson, turns the already-stale conventional wisdom about integrating Mac OS machines into enterprise operations completely on its head. Mac-enabled employees are actually the HEROes of business, says Johnson -- Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives. This 17% slice of the enterprise workforce are the ones who work longer, give more effort and actually push innovation forward.

The report is pricey if you're not a Forrester subscriber, but it's extensively quoted at Fortune's Apple 2.0 blog. One of the most powerful statements in the report is that Mac users forced to use Windows laptops find the PCs are "slowing them down."

"Time is the only thing that these fierce competitors can't make more of. Many of today's corporate PCs are saddled with management, backup, and security agents that can bog down a PC. Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don't want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They're drawn to uncluttered Macs -- especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds."

Pretty amazing from the same research group that warned companies in 2008 to stay well clear of the Mac. "Unless your market is a niche business group, Windows is the only desktop you need support." Even now, 41% of the enterprises that Forrester surveyed don't even support Mac clients getting access to web-based corporate email, much less welcome the Mac in as a full-fledged IT citizen.

Now the tide has turned, with more and more Mac laptops making inroads into the most productive corners of the enterprise PC landscape. Forrester says, rather emphatically, "Stand in the way (of letting Apple in), and you will eventually get run over."

If you want to part with US$499, you can buy a copy of the report and leave it in your boss's inbox.

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