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Network World - Many IT departments are struggling with Apple's "take it or leave it" attitude, based on discussions last week at MacIT, which is Macworld|iWorld's companion conference for IT professionals.
Much of the questioning following technical presentations wasn't about Apple technology or products. It was about the complexities and confusions of trying to sort out for the enterprise Apple's practices. Those practices include the use of Apple IDs and iTunes accounts, which are designed for individual Mac or iPad or iPhone users, and programs like Apple's Volume Purchase Program (VPP), which, according to Apple "makes it simple to find, buy, and distribute the apps your business needs" and to buy custom, third-party B2B apps.
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Not every company that embraces Apple runs into these issues, or suffers the same degree of pain. And other platforms impose their own mandates and constraints.
But judging from the comments at MacIT, there is a lot of complexity in applying this apparent simplicity in the enterprise.
And there's no recourse. Several speakers urged their audience members to make use of Apple's feedback sites, bug reports, and account representatives, but warned them against just "ranting" and against expecting any direct Apple response, including "thank you."
"You're not voiceless," insisted Ben Greisler, president of Kadimac, a consultancy specializing in Apple technology for business customers. It wasn't clear whether he was trying to convince his listeners, or himself. When enough users frame a real problem that has a solution, and monetary implications for Apple or its business customers, then Apple will listen, the speakers said.
Yet over and over again, their advice sounded like a variant of "adapt or die" - make the changes in IT and even business practices that are necessary to make use of Apple products, or continue to bear the pain.
One speaker, Kevin White, a principal at Macjutsu, which specializes in Apple training and consulting, during a panel discussion on Apple's iOS mobile platform pointed out that in iOS software "assets" -- apps -- belong to an iTunes account, not to any particular iOS device: these accounts are individual, not institutional. "It's a pain, but that's the [Apple] model," he told his audience, which neatly sums up what became an unintended theme of the entire MacIT conference.
Furthermore, White pointed out, iOS app developers have to opt into the Volume Purchasing Plan: only then, does their app become VPP-accessible.
"Stop thinking of software as an asset, and start thinking of it as you think about paper and pens," White said. Astonishingly, he then added, "It may require huge changes in your accounting procedures."
I can only think that the reason he wasn't tarred and feathered was that his early morning audience was not yet awake, or they had already resigned themselves to adapting IT and business practices to whatever new form is required to make use of Apple products. Later, a manager with one software vendor suggested that the reason a riot didn't break out was because "there were no procurement officers or CFO's in the audience."