Now we know why IT support hate Macs

Ease of use means tech support doesn't have enough to do

Apple, IBM, OS X, Mac
Credit: JAMF Software

You can’t blame them I suppose. They don’t really know any better, but the latest IBM report is attracting attention because, well, it pretty much tells any open-minded person that Macs are a better deal, even in the enterprise.

Mindfulness

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been watching the digital transformation of the workplace over the last few years. That’s a period in which computers have evolved from being beige boxes on your desk to becoming solutions you carry in your pocket, wear on your wrist or access through the cloud.

Not only is technology changing, but workplace habits are being revised – BYOD is becoming W.O.R.K. 24/7 (not great for work/life balance) and those old legacy silo approaches to interdepartmental management function are becoming hard to justify in any connected enterprise. That’s just the way it is.

“Make it complicated, please,” may once have been the mantra for enterprise developers attempting to create needlessly complex business processing systems for use by employees.

That was then and this is now; today’s millennials don’t want to waste time using non-intuitive solutions, even if you are paying them to do so. They’ll just steal your business ideas, develop better systems, leave your firm and put you out of a job.

Silly silos

Complexity is only sexy when its logically required. The rest of the time you need to break down the barriers and open up to new practice. Silo-based structures are on the way out.

And now we learn that within this context, Macs are seriously in. “Mac users need less IT support”, according to IBM, which is currently deploying 1,900 Macs per week. The difference in IT support needs is stark – just 5% of employees using Macs need help from IBM’s tech support helpline in contrast to 40% (eight times as many) of the employees using PCs. It means IBM has just 24 help desk staff to support around 130,000 Macs and iOS devices internally.

That’s a staggering difference in IT support costs – and lets you redeploy your tech support assets on improving your business systems, rather than simply keeping the lights on, or as IBM explains it, “every Mac that we buy is making and saving IBM money.”

This means that while it is true that Macs are more expensive than PCs, their lower tech support, set-up and maintenance costs offset that initial price. Security, reliability and ease-of–use/employee satisfaction improvements also help offset these costs. Some may even note the regular free OS upgrades also make the platform tempting.

Standards

TCO isn’t the only disappearing barrier to Mac deployments. In the past your IT support crew would likely have advised against migrating because of the challenges of deploying business process software to new platforms. These days, enterprises are embracing cloud services, outsourcing of tech infrastructure, SaaS and IaaS and, frankly, those excuses no longer wash. As long as you ensure technology decisions are made around standards support, then there are few things your Mac can’t run, unless your own tech support crew mischievously developed them that way.

You have to understand why they hate Macs. They have a vested interest in the old ways of doing things. But you, as a CIO, need to be able to make decisions that are rooted in the future, not the past. This means every department across every enterprise needs to be bought up to speed. For your costly IT support teams, it is to be hoped the reduced tech support burden will release them from the task of keeping the lights on and enable you to realize your investment in the form of new technology projects and enterprise infrastructure development.

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