"We have more than 7,000 end-point devices. Most of those devices are Windows workstations and Internet Explorer is included as part of the Microsoft Windows operating system. As such, this makes it easier and integrates well with our solution to manage and deploy upgrades, patches and hotfixes to the OS including IE," says implementations director Peter Parsan.
"Internet Explorer is more than a browser, it is the foundation for Internet functionality in Windows," he adds.
[MORE INTERNET EXPLORER: Internet Explorer flaws fixed by Microsoft Patch Tuesday updates]
The complexity of managing an ecosystem with more than 100 types of software - running the gamut from productivity applications to clinical programs - requires a heavily controlled approach, according to Parsan.
Smith agrees that IE still has its advantages for business users that want just such a strictly regimented technology infrastructure.
"If you want a managed, traditional IT environment ... really, your only option is Internet Explorer," he says, adding that both Firefox and Chrome lag behind IE in terms of effective centralized management tools.
Some companies, however, have gone a different way - standardizing not on IE, but on a competing browser.
Elliot Tally, senior director of enterprise apps for electronics manufacturer Sanmina, says his company's employees are highly dependent on browsers for business-critical activities. Everything from ERP to document control (which he notes is "big for a manufacturing company") to the supply chain is run from a web app.
Talley says Sanmina made the move to standardize on Chrome in 2009, in part because of a simultaneous switch to Gmail and Google Apps from IE and Microsoft products.
"It made sense to go with the browser created and supported by the company that created the apps we rely on. Also, Chrome installs in user space so it doesn't require admin privileges to auto-update," he says. "It also silently auto-updates, as opposed to Firefox, which requires a fresh install to update versions, or IE, which is similar. Chrome, over the last year or so, has supported web standards better than any other browser, and (until recently) has offered significantly better performance."
Plainly, broad diversity exists both in the actual browsers used by workers and the approaches businesses have taken in managing their use.
That diversity, says Smith, is the reason Gartner has been advising clients against standardization from the outset.