Is a “Mac as a Choice” Program Viable in My Business?
by Elaine Evans, on Feb 26, 2020 1:51:25 PM
Can your business really offer Macs to employees?
Sitting across from the CIO of a 400 person organization, I hear the words “I don’t think Apple belongs in the enterprise.” It’s a challenge -- he’s invited an Apple-specific service provider into his arena to say that. It’s also probably a little too late -- he’s currently supporting almost 150 Macs in the organization.
This CIO, like many people I meet, does not believe that enterprise-grade tools exist to manage Macs to the degree that Windows can be managed. Or, they don’t believe that the line of business software they need exists for Mac OS.
Yet, more and more of these organizations are seeing a demand to use Apple devices in the enterprise. It’s becoming an imperative item for companies to address in order to look attractive to the incoming workforce against their competitors.
The traditional "Apple doesn’t play well with others" is less relevant than ever. They have worked to establish enterprise relationships with the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, IBM, SAP and more in order to make their product viable in business.
Believe it or not, IBM deployed Macs and saw extremely positive results in their study.
Windows 10 Migrations Aren’t Cheap
The other factor in all of this is the massive amount of money that organizations are spending to update their Windows infrastructure. This is not the first time (or the last) that organizations will have to deal with this. Preparing for this migration with the costs, software support, and people impacts are not unlike the prep for switching to offering Macs. Costs vary from anywhere from $500-$625 per device to upgrade for a 2500 person organization to Windows 10.2
Which brings us to the problem for many medium to large or established businesses: you think your systems were not built to support Apple devices. Tackling this problem can seem cumbersome and potentially not viable.
The truth is, you have to break down the problem into core categories to understand how you can integrate Mac as a Choice into your business.
Before we jump there, let’s briefly cover the benefits and reasons to even talk about offering Macs to your employees.
The Upside to Offering Mac as a Choice
Competitive edge for recruiting talent
|78% of Millennials want to choose the device they work on and over two-thirds of those say they would prefer an Apple device1 If you don't know, Millennials are the largest incoming workforce.|
|Only 5% of Mac users call the help desk, compared to 40% of PC users3 and a Gensler workplace survey revealed that employees with a choice had improved experience in key areas such as innovation, job satisfaction, and job performance.4|
Leverage the security that comes with Mac OS
|A Forrester study found a “reduced risk of a data breach by 50% per deployed Mac." 5 If you ever watch WWDC you know Apple has a strong focus on security and privacy.|
|It may go against your instinct, but multiple studies have found that an investment in Apple devices saves organizations money in the long run. Forrester found it reduced hardware, software, support, and operational costs: $678.56 per device5|
How to Start Evaluating Using Macs
The easiest way to start is to map out all of your software/services with the following questions:
1. Does it support Mac OS currently?
If it currently works with Mac OS, then you just want to double-check the versions of the software you are using work with the current Mac OS releases. Additionally, you will want to check for any potential feature loss. If you are working on a cloud platform, you will probably not see as much feature loss. If the Macs have to access another service such as a file share or VPN, you’ll want to undergo the same process.
2. Does it have a version for Mac OS or cloud that doesn’t have major feature loss?
If you’re working off of a Windows-only version of a software/service you can see if they offer a solution for Mac OS users. This may have an additional benefit of having you take a look at a plan to update legacy software to a modern version that works across more platforms.
3. Is there a competitor’s software that works for Mac OS?
If your current provider offers no version for Mac OS users, then you can look at competitors. When doing this, depending on the software/service it will give you an idea of budgeting for a potential migration/implementation of a new solution.
4. Do all roles in the organization need to access this software to complete their job?
This is very important as you may have certain departments or roles that will have more hurdles to using Mac OS than others. We see this commonly in a Sales role versus a Finance role. The Sales Team may be able to easily complete their tasks on Mac OS because of products like Salesforce, while your Accounting Team is often spending their days in a very particular Windows OS version of Quickbooks that will take time to migrate away from or update.
You can roll out Mac as a Choice to the part of the company that makes the most sense and make a roadmap for other departments.
Once you’ve asked those questions, you can start to see how much work it may take to get your key items in line to offer Apple devices in your organization.
Security and Directory Services
Many people believe that Macs cannot support Active Directory and that securing them is difficult. The truth is that between Apple Business Manager and an EMM/MDM platform, you can secure your devices while preserving end-user satisfaction.
Many tools have a catalog or “self-service” that will allow employees to download pre-approved apps, printers, VPNs, etc. They also allow you to remotely wipe or lock devices and can enforce passcode policies, encryption and much more.
Tools like Okta, Azure AD, and Google IDP can be leveraged for directory services. Additionally, traditional AD can be leveraged (without the headaches) via Mac OS 15’s Kerberos extension or products like Jamf Connect.
Offering Mac as a Choice
So, in conclusion, Mac as a Choice is likely very viable in your organization and likely a very positive strategic move. In fact, you may be losing an edge over your competition if you don’t start to think about how to incorporate Apple devices into your infrastructure. You have to be prepared and create a roadmap that may take time. IT moves are never easy, but they have a crucial impact on your organization’s success.
Springboard can help. We offer a Mac as a Choice assessment to come and evaluate your systems and Mac/iOS deployment and Integration services to get you to the finish line.
5 Forrester, The Total Economic Impact™ Of Mac In Enterprise