IBM says it is 3X more expensive to manage PCs than Macs

Saving up to $535 per Mac per four years in comparison to PCs

Apple, IBM, Mac, PC, enterprise, macOS, iOS, Previn, IT, enterprise IT
Credit: Jonny Evans

With Apple set to announce new Macs next week, enterprise users may want to open their wallets to get hold of the new kit, as there’s a big business case that says they should, according to IBM.

Up to $535 saving per Mac

IBM today told the record-setting seventh Jamf Nation User Conference that it is saving even more money by deploying Macs across the company than it thought: each Mac deployment saves the company up to $535 over four years, in contrast to the $270 per Mac it claimed last year.

That’s a hugely significant statistic for any Mac user and follows extensive use of the platform by IBM. IBM VP of Workplace as a Service, Fletcher Previn, told the conference that 90,000 employees are now using Macs, up from 30,000 in 2015. 100,000 of IBM’s global workforce will be using Macs by the end of the year, he said, and the number is climbing.

There are lots of reasons for this, not least that better OS software means Apple needs to update its systems far less often than Microsoft updates Windows. "We have to go out and manage the Mac environment 104 fewer times a year than PC,” Previn said.

When it comes to mobile devices, 65 percent of iOS users run the latest OS, while 60 percent of Android users are running an OS that’s at least two years old.

IBM began replacing PCs with Macs in early 2015, when it began giving employees the choice to upgrade to a Mac when their company kit needed upgrading. The data speaks for itself, at IBM an astonishing 73 percent of employees will choose a Mac when they get the chance to choose for themself, Previn said.

Today, "Macs are the standard at IBM, Japan, and PCs are the exception," he said -- and seems to think this is the future across the rest of the company.

Time to switch

That’s a major enterprise deployment and highly significant, as the statistics the company is sharing are real world figures based on real world experience across one of the world’s biggest businesses. It also suggests small business users should focus on the platform, particularly in light of Intuit’s recent move to integrate Apple Pay in QuickBooks and Apple’s eminent suitability for modern business.

The icing on the user preference cake is that it turns out there are solid business reasons to encourage staff to move to Mac. Not only has the company been saving between $264-$535 for each Mac deployment over four years, but just 3.5 percent of employees using a Mac will call the company help desk, he said. “Give employees the devices they want, manage those devices in a modern way, and drive self sufficiency in the environment,” Previn explains.

My fair platform

This is fully in line with experiences shared in 2015, when Previn said just 5 percent of IBM’s Mac users needed to call the help desk; In contrast, an astonishing 40 percent of PC staff request tech support help. At IBM last year just 25 staff supported 30,000 Macs.

Moving to Mac has also had a big impact on employee engagement at IBM, which climbed 10 percent year-on-year, with an employee survey attributing this freshened up enthusiasm to IBM’s provision of “better tools for IT”. The company reports a hugely impressive “91 percent user satisfaction” from its Mac users.

The longer this scheme runs the more compelling the business case becomes, he admits. “I can confidently say every Mac that we buy is making and saving IBM money,” Previn said in 2015.

Big news at Jamf

These are just some of the many big highlights emerging from this year’s record-breaking Apple IT administrator event from Jamf (formerly Jamf Software).

The company introduced new and improved Device Management solutions to help support Apple in the enterprise, including JAMF Now, which is so simple that any Apple user should be able to manage numerous devices in SMEs and up.

“We want to provide a simple environment where anyone with or without tech skills can manage and deploy apps,” Jamf CEO, Dean Hager told me.

In a refreshing philosophical departure from the complex management ecosystem of other platforms, he said, “Managing your devices is not something you should have to spend too much intellectual capital on.”

It also announced that the number of customers it serves has climbed rapidly. It now includes nine of the top ten banks; eight of the top ten universities, all ten top marketing groups and seven out of ten tech companies. Nineteen of the top 25 global organizations use Jamf to manage their Mac deployments.

Hager noted that even at the high-end enterprise level, “once they become a Jamf customer, they remain a customer.” The all-new Jamf Pro 10 was announced, this ships next year.

Closing Windows?

IBM’s ringing endorsement of Apple’s platforms for use across the enterprise is just one of many in recent months. Cisco claims Apple delivers the “world’s most innovative mobile tech,” while Deloitte recently claimed Apple products are “essential to the modern workforce”. Just last month, Mike Gilfix, IBM’s VP of Mobile First and Smarter Process told me: “Swift is now ready for the enterprise.”

As Apple introduces new Macs and as we see big enterprise names evangelize its platforms even as enterprise IT replacement budgets open up for another year, it will be interesting to see how big a slice of the PC industry Apple carves for itself in the next 12-months. We already know Macs are replacing PCs across the enterprise at “an unprecedented rate”.

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