They should also take into account things like access privileges and regulatory issues. At the high end, they need to assess user sophistication, and identify groups of employees who can take care of themselves.
"There are a couple of ways to do this once you decide on your approach. You can deliver the Windows desktop to the Mac, and expand self-support. Software such as Casper Suite does a really good job with this," he says.
Other management software that has been released for the Mac include Parallels, Moka Five, Orchard Parc, Centrify and Group Logic.
- Moka Five provides a standardized way to deploy VMware desktop virtualization on Macs.
- Orchard Parc provides OPUS, which lets Macs work with Windows without the need for a virtual machine and hardware.
- Centrify Direct Control for Mac OS X integrates with Active Directory and Windows Group Policy.
- Group Logic solves the problem of Macs accessing Windows for file sharing.
- Parallels Desktop allows users to run Windows apps on their Macs, and Parallels Management Suite for Microsoft System Center provides for cross-platform management.
Of course, Mac integration into the enterprise still has some minor kinks to be worked out.
There are still some issues with high-end graphics, says IAVO Scientific's Heric.
Elsewhere, at Lighthaus Design, which began to bring in Macs in greater numbers several years ago, other issues arose, says Glenn Romanelli, president, CEO and creative director at the Web development company.
"There were a few problems when we considered a switch to the Mac. Fonts are critical in my industry. When someone designed a Web site on the PC, we purchased certain fonts that didn't work on the Mac. To solve this, we use Open Type fonts, which work on Macs and PCs. Cost sort of entered into it because the site is subscription-based, but we did it on case-by-case basis," he says.
And Macs aren't totally self-supporting. "I do agree that you need to find an IT guy or company that specializes in the Mac. PC guys don't 'get' Macs," he adds.
Costing it out
Before it began to bring in more Macs, Genentech thought IT management would be more expensive. This turned out to not be the case, says Cindy Elkins, vice president of IT.
"At first IT management thought the Mac would be more expensive, but the truth is, when we retrained people on the service desk, for example, we found that it's actually cheaper."
In addition, the Mac is more durable, she adds. "But all goes back to IT, and we're ahead of the curve there. This has to do with being in the medical field, but the Mac users have proved to be as happy as can be, and the machine is actually very easy to support. It's our philosophy in IT to take courageous steps. Having lots of Macs has also proven to be a recruitment tool."
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