Mac switch revisited: An enterprise PC shop's move to Apple isn't as easy as expected
Auto Warehousing Co.'s switch from PCs to Macs is proving more painful than expected.
Computerworld - This is the second in a series of articles as Computerworld follows AWC's transition to Apple over the course of a year. The first article is "Mac Attack! An enterprise PC shop switches to Apple."
Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20.
Less than five months after going public with plans to immediately start replacing its Windows-based PCs with Macs, Auto Warehousing Co. was forced to push back the project by more than a month. That was last December. The reason was not a lack of money, manpower or executive support. Rather, what stymied the project were protests from workers and objections from customers who perceived the technology switch as unnecessarily costly.
"I didn't see this coming at all," says Dale Frantz, CIO of the Tacoma, Wash.-based company. "We never before had any of the workforce question our technological initiatives." But with the Mac project, "there was a perception that the equipment was much more expensive than traditional Windows PCs and that we were purchasing Lamborghini-level equipment with the company's profits," he says.
AWC's customers had similar concerns, raising questions about whether the technology migration might trigger increases in service rates.
In fact, Frantz says, within hours after a July 16, 2007, Computerworld story about AWC's technology migration plans was published, both he and CEO Stephen Seher received a flood of phone calls and e-mails with questions, positive and negative comments, and even an anonymous death threat.
"Because of the breadth and scope of the project, our customers, workforce and financial institutions had a lot of questions," Frantz says.
Employees wanted to know whether money that could go toward salary increases or other benefits was being diverted to what they perceived as a pricey high-tech project. Customers worried that the cost of the project would be passed on to them. AWC's bankers wanted more details to determine whether switching to a new technology made sound business sense.
Customers' and suppliers' reactions didn't really surprise AWC Chief Financial Officer Dennis Matteo. His biggest surprise had come earlier, when Frantz first expressed a serious interest in switching to Apple technology.
"Dale is a very savvy CIO [and] was a committed Microsoft advocate. So when [he] started to look at Apple in a very serious way, it implied he had seen some fundamental changes in the business services direction of Microsoft and Apple," Matteo says. "Obviously, he likes the direction Apple is moving."
On all fronts, the concern was widespread enough that AWC executives decided to push back the rollout of the client computers and instead build support for the project.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Acxiom Case Study This case study, which focuses on Acxiom, explores how the company was able to secure employee data, reduce migration costs and boost productivity...
- Windows® XP Migration: Protect and Secure Critical Data With the end of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system's lifecycle on April 8, 2014, businesses are faced with the decision to migrate...
- Exponentially Accelerate Data Protection and Recovery with Simpana 10 IntelliSnap® Snapshot Management Technology Are you making the best use of your storage array snapshot functionality? CommVault Simpana 10 IntelliSnap technology manages hardware-based snapshots across multiple vendor...
- Simpana IntelliSnap Technology Datasheet With IntelliSnap you can maximize the value of your snapshot technology while dramatically reducing management overhead and complexity.
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!