Apple in the enterprise: a personal anecdote

This week I began an eight-week long internship at Caruso Affiliated, the preeminent real estate development company in Southern California. While it’s certainly not a job I saw myself having the summer after my freshman year in college (what with it being completely unrelated to my major), I’m finding the experience to be educational and enlightening. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe the work that goes into making that little shopping center down the street, or the amounts of money involved, if you live near a major city.

With that said, I do have a few anecdotes that Apple fans will find interesting:

  • Every executive at the company uses an iPhone. I spent two hours in a board room where the heads of every department came and went for various meetings, and not one of them was using a BlackBerry or Android phone. The only one who didn’t have an iPhone 4 or 4S on the table in front of him was still using a 3GS.

  • The iPad is used at every level in the company. One of the executives used one to take notes and send emails while in the meetings, and “mobile concierge” workers at The Grove and at The Americana at Brand use them to ¬†provide various services for the guests and residents at those locations.¬†

  • The iPad also impacts Caruso Affiliated’s online strategy. The company creates videos of 3D renderings of properties that are currently in development in order to get approval from local governments and to sell condominiums to potential future residents. After a demo of one of these videos, and executive asked: “And will these videos be posted in something other than Flash? We want customers on tablets to be able to watch them.” I had to restrain myself from pointing out that ‘iPads’ would be more accurate than simply saying tablets, but you get my point.¬†

While a few observations at one company are certainly not a reliable way to gauge the success of Apple products in the business world, I do think that my experience shows that one can’t count Apple out when it comes to enterprise customers. On the flip side of that, I think it also shows that RIM and Microsoft should be even less confident about their former domain.

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