10+ reasons enterprises need an employee choice program

Big productivity gains, staff retention and other benefits are available to enterprises who let their employees choose their own hardware platform.

Apple, IBM, SAP, Jamf, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Windows

In truth, the enterprise computing environment stopped being a monoculture many years ago; today’s businesses use a mix of platforms and devices to get things done – and this has led to an expansion in the number of companies offering employee choice programs.

What is an employee choice program?

The idea is pretty simple:

  • New employees joining a company are offered a choice of computing platforms and devices to use at work.
  • Company tech support is equipped to handle mixed-platform environments, and company IT infrastructure is designed to be platform agnostic.
  • Where legacy technologies are still in use, internal or outsourced IT will work to figure out workarounds to interoperability issues.
  • In many cases, these mixed-platform networks are supported by SaaS and other forms of cloud service provider.

So, why does your company need an employee choice program?

1: Because you want the best staff

There’s plenty of evidence to show that most new employees will choose an Apple when given the chance to do so. A PwC survey claims 78% of millennials believe having access to the tech they like at work makes them more effective.

2: Because you want to keep those staff

When you consider the cost of staff recruitment, it makes sense to retain workers  rather than replace them. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us retention relies on lots of things: money helps, but so does autonomy, personal progression – and using great tools.

Apple’s products demonstrate remarkably high user satisfaction levels, and this reflects on employee satisfaction at work. IBM recently confirmed Net Promoter Scores among Mac-using employees to be three times that of Windows users at IBM (47.5 v. 15). That means Mac users are 17% less likely to leave the company. A Gensler Workplace study claims giving employees platform choice boosts innovation, performance and satisfaction at work.

3: You might save money

IBM made waves in 2016 when it told us its own experience reveals it saves over $500 when employees choose a Mac rather than a Windows PC for work.


In part because employees using Macs make less support requests – IBM claims Windows users are, “five times more likely to need on-site help desk support than Mac users.” (Interestingly, 31% of Mac problems relate to login and credential issues). In other words, Apple kit means the total cost of ownership (TCO) might be lower.

4: You could make money

SAP’s vice president for enterprise mobility, Martin Lang, IBM and other big names in enterprise IT claim that equipping employees with Apple’s solutions generates big gains in productivity. “The only way to increase productivity at SAP is to increase the productivity of the people,” Lang said.

5: Software and systems stay up-to-date

Apple publishes regular software updates for all its products, and these are easy to install, reducing the need for IT support to manage the process. And if they want to manage the process, there are plenty of systems that enable them to do so; 82% of Mac users at SAP are already on Catalina. And remember, Apple equipment tends to be less fault-prone and more reliable.

6: IT becomes a cost benefit

What happens when your highly experienced IT teams no longer need to spend their day upgrading computers and helping people with problems?

They get to do something else: your tech experts can focus on systems integration, software enhancements and building new digital technologies to help keep your business competitive.

IBM says it needs one engineer to support 10,000 Windows devices, but notes that that same engineer can support 30,000 Macs.

7: Migration is easier

With cloud services ascendant and enterprise-focused MDM systems such as Jamf or Addigy available to enterprise IT, the fact that Apple has made it super-easy to migrate from one of its devices to a replacement device isn’t just a convenience, it’s a measurable cost benefit. IBM reckons five times as many Windows users as Mac users have problems migrating to a new system.

8: Old tech never dies

Four years on and your Apple equipment retains a relatively high resale value. How you choose to release that value is up to you: give EOL machines to staff, sell or part exchange them for new equipment?

That thousand-dollar PC may raise you $200 four years later, while that thousand-dollar Mac may yield $400. That value can go back into your business in cash or in improved employee satisfaction.

9: Macs can run Windows

Apple’s Boot Camp lets you run a Windows partition on your Mac. You can also use third-party solutions such as VMWare or Parallels to run the rival OS. This support means you can continue to use Apple kit with legacy Windows-based systems and/or business processes while you replace or upgrade them.

And if your Windows install gets a virus, it’s much easier to replace a virtual partition than an entire Windows machine.

10: Mobile apps for all

iPhones are already in wide use across enterprise IT. iPad use is growing fast. Apple’s Catalyst tech makes it possible to more easily port iOS apps from iPads to Macs, which means those mobile tools you’ve built for your mobile teams will work across all three platforms. As every enterprise becomes a mobile enterprise, this makes a big difference.

11: Look at the evidence

IBM CIO Fletcher Previn said in 2019: “...I don’t know if better employees want Macs, or giving Macs to employees makes them better. You got to be careful about cause and effect — but there seems to be a lot of corroborating evidence that says you want to have a choice program.”

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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