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Architecture in the Mac domain part 2

In our last article, we spoke about the new iMac and all of the related “goodness” that using one brings to the table. Apple’s holistic approach (Hardware, Software, Strategy, UI etc) leads to producing excellent products that have a measurable result on the day to day use and increased productivity for the end consumer.

In this article, we will focus on corporate IT networks and the incorporation of iMac’s into this environment including technology, fit for purpose, advantages, disadvantages and overall – using the correct technology where and when needed.

The setting
First off, most companies, large or small use IT networks for a series of things. Document sharing, email, authentication, applications etc. In reality though, all of these can be classified into two groups; access and communication.

On the communication side companies need systems in place that allow them to communicate – with internal and external staff, partners, clients etc. On the access side, IT networks are in place to control “who” can use the communication mediums and to “what” extent.

The iMac is a great communication tool. Properly placed within a network, it can integrate into almost any environment and allow the end consumer to communicate through standard (and non-standard) IT networks and produce – “something” – as needed. Specifically (without too much regurgitation) the Mac (iMac or other) can hook into email, web, application, corporate and “Windows” networks with ease. Gone are the days when the Mac is the poor cousin of the Windows machine. With hooks into corporate email environments, web connectivity, and virtual machine technology, the Mac now sits comfortably within any windows or non-windows environment.

Apple Mail

Fit for purpose
But, is the iMac the best “fit” for what you do? Well, let’s look at the broader picture. From a scenario perspective, lets propose that you work within a corporate office – say – financial services – and deal with accounting software, taxation, the Tax Office or IRS and applications such as MYOB, Turbo Tax etc. Would the iMac be a good choice? Probably not.

Most financial driven applications are non – mac based  (usually Windows) or are moving to a more cloud based version to become cross platform. The average employee would spend 90% or more of their time in “Windows” based software so there is little point to using the Mac. (Having said that, a lot of people will use one anyway – even if it is just to be seen to be cool!)

On the other hand, if you work in a corporate office – say – consulting for an industry vertical of “non financial” services – and deal with general office documents, Windows based applications, Exchange based email, network drives (shares), cloud based applications and the usual internet based applications, then is the iMac a good fit? I would say Yes. Why?

Let’s look at the communication requirements of the average user. What do they use?

  1. Email
  2. Messaging (Chat, Skype, Windows live etc)
  3. Txt  (normally from a phone)
  4. Phone (Cell, Mobile or other)
  5. Applications (Office, specific apps etc)
  6. Web or browser based applications

The Mac has the capabilities to use all of these and more. In fact, depending on “what” you do, it can actually be more productive with a Mac than with any other operating systems. Let’s head back to the iMac and talk about how this fits into the big picture at the advantage (or disadvantage) level.

Apple - Going Cloud

Online – Going cloud
It’s a great tool . Whether you hate it, or like it, the internet is here to stay and has changed the way we communicate and interact daily. The latest iMac from Apple is built to embrace the internet and has moved into an online – going cloud approach. This is apparent in several key areas. For one – no media drive. The DVD drive is no longer included within the iMac. You can purchase an external one, but it looks like Apple’s philosophy going forward is to remove the offline media component of the iMac (and Mac’s in general).

Another key area is Apple’s iCloud offering. iCloud allows you to store documents in the cloud that update – real time – between your Apple products. (We won’t go into iCloud in any detail as everything you need to know is here). Using this approach, the Mac allows anyone to communicate and generate documents and synchronise them across all of you apple devices – without being a technical genius.

For the end consumer, this is a fantastic tool. For the network administrators, it’s a nightmare. But, more on that in a different article.

Productivity
This is where the iMac really shines. It’s productivity output is simply awesome. Why? here are a few reasons:

  • Great Applications
  • Simplicity
  • Stability
  • Ease of use (when has anyone ever read a manual on how to use an iMac?)
  • and so on.

The Mac has opened the doors for producing great work, with simplicity (and excellent looks) and ease of use.

  • http://www.apple.com/why-mac/better-os/
  • http://reviews.cnet.com/other-os/mac-os-x-10/4505-3678_7-35401483.html
  • http://www.cio.com/article/127050/Eight_Financial_Reasons_Why_You_Should_Use_Mac_OS
  • https://www.apple.com/business/mac/
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203721704577156704148493394.html
  • http://www.parallels.com/au/products/desktop/
  • http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2012/01/25/apple-surges-in-corporate-market-with-iphone-ipad-and-mac/

Within the corporate environment, Mac’s are now connected, compatible and can also run virtualisation software as required for the specific windows application, when needed.

In closing, the new iMac is a great machine, packed with awesome features, great software and is a viable alternative for a corporate environment.

Warm regards,

Scott Malpass


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