IBM: Mac Users Need Less IT Support - InformationWeek
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10/18/2015
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IBM: Mac Users Need Less IT Support

IBM is rolling out Apple machines to its workforce and discovered only 5% of Mac users required IT support, compared with 40% of PC users.

Apple, Microsoft, IBM: 7 Big Analytics Buys You Need to Know
Apple, Microsoft, IBM: 7 Big Analytics Buys You Need to Know
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Could you cut costs by giving employees Apple devices instead of PCs? IBM's Mac program seems to suggest yes.

IBM began an internal deployment of MacBook laptops in June 2015, reports Apple Insider. Its goal is to roll out 50,000 Macs by year's end, which will bring total IBM MacBook adoption to a total between 150,000 and 200,000 devices.

As part of its evolving partnership with Apple, IBM began to give employees the option to use a Mac in the workplace. The program has grown over the last few months and continues to expand.

[Steve Jobs the movie: separating fact from fiction.]

IBM is currently deploying 1,900 Macs per week. There are 130,000 iOS and Mac devices in use at the company, stated Fletcher Previn, IBM's vice president of Workplace-as-a-Service, at this year's JAMF Nation User Conference in Minneapolis.

The MacBook program has shed light on a notable difference between Mac and PC users in regards to IT support. Five percent of employees using Macs contact IBM's IT help desk for assistance, said Previn, compared with 40% of workers on PCs.

There was a demand for Macs at IBM prior to this summer, which makes sense given the sheer number of people who own Apple devices for personal use. However, it was believed the switch to MacBooks would be costly and require additional training for help staff.

While Apple devices are more expensive than PCs, the lowered need for IT assistance has somewhat offset the Macs' higher price tag. Macs require less setup and management, and demand fewer support staff members.

The 130,000 Apple devices at IBM require a help desk of 24 people.

Like many businesses, IBM also had to determine how it would provide enterprise support for Apple computers. Employees wanted their familiar Apple apps, but the company had to ensure the computers met their standards.

(Image: Anatollii Babii/iStockPhoto)

(Image: Anatollii Babii/iStockPhoto)

Through their partnership, IBM employees receive brand-new Macs and conduct their own setup using Apple's Device Enrollment Program and the Casper Suite from JAMF Software. As they get their devices up and running, employees can install their own software, apps, and configurations, all of which have been approved by IT.

This is the latest in a series of announcements to come from the Apple/IBM collaboration.

Back in March, IBM released three MobileFirst for iOS apps aimed to support the retail, financial, and airline industries. A little over one month later, the two announced data collected on Apple devices would be stored in the IBM Health Cloud for professional medical analysis.

Does your enterprise use PCs, Macs, or both? Have you noticed a difference between the two with respect to IT support? Tell us in the comments.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/22/2015 | 1:28:30 PM
Re: Mac requires less support
Notwithstanding my exchange with the Apple fanboy below, I do see a lot of use of Macs from people who write code, edit/create multimedia and other content creation type jobs. No question they are good at that and I have no argument deploying them like that.

My objection was to this magic "40% less support than Wintel" if deployed in an environment like mfg which uses many applications, especially ERP, to get the job done. The support comes from supporting the applications, the actual Wintel support is next to nothing. No way you build an argument (from less support) to start giving your A/P clerks a machine which is twice as expensive as Wintel.

If you really care about support cost, you should be using VDI anyway, not deploying Macs.

 
TurtleBoy
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TurtleBoy,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/21/2015 | 11:41:07 PM
Re: Always known
I work at a government enterprise environment. The support deals with enterprise apps written for windows and hardware like printers. Not windows itself. When this enterprise app migrated to macs, it will still face the same issue. Or even worse since these apps needs function built in Windows which osx doesn't have. Whether it's user or the apps fault. And unless apple release their own iPrinter for enterprise. They will face same problems as windows does.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/21/2015 | 2:03:44 PM
Re: Always known
Clearly Mac versus PC discussions bring out very strong emotions in people.  To me, it is all about scale, collaboration, and security.  My firm is global and employees over 10,000 people.  We need all 10,000 folks to be able to collaborate on files no matter their location which requires a DMS.  We also need these documents to be secured, often times from other people in the firm (ethical walls).  Electronic files that leave the firm need to be scanned and cleaned of metadata upon sending an email.  Mobile devices need to remotely wiped by an administrator if they are lost, stolen, or if someone leaves the firm.  We need to archive our emails on a strict retention policy.  We need...Windows, PCs, and Servers.
DaveSidious
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DaveSidious,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/21/2015 | 3:56:56 AM
Re: Always known
"Apple currently doesn't make servers. but Apple DID make servers for years previously"
Yeah, they made XServe and sold about three of them, because nobody wanted to buy a server that cost their company's annual IT budget and come out the other end with far less functionality than Windows Server. So I'd suggest that it's not a decent server solution for business and that's why it doesn't exist.

The 'facts' presented here aren't facts at all, but statements of an opinion with no data backing them. They say "Mac users need less support". But they don't state what they mean by support really. There are no real stats what so ever. If your version of indesputable is just someone saying something, then I'm the king of sweeden.
AntonioS146
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AntonioS146,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2015 | 1:12:02 PM
Mac requires less support
Our company develops software.  We need to keep support costs at the lowest level possible and focus on our work.

We started deploying iMacs instead of Windows machines.  Quality of equipment is very good, so we do not have  hardware problems, and software support requirements are minimun compared to Windows.

From my experiences I say that 5% Mac versus 40% Windows support requirement is true.

 
Ron_Hodges
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Ron_Hodges,
User Rank: Moderator
10/20/2015 | 9:07:30 AM
Re: Always known
I have never liked how "locked down" Apple products are, and I certainly don't approve of how delicate they are.  Thinkpads are Milspec and survive pretty major abuse.  I love mine.

 
hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2015 | 3:02:01 PM
Re: Always known
Yes, I understand that you do not want to accept reality. Get a life.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 3:00:34 PM
Re: Always known
Yeah, I'm ignorant. I've been working in the industry since 1985 and have NEVER seen an Apple server or anyone deploy Macs instead of Wintel.  And I have seen a Wang mainframe. What does that tell you? If Apple wouldn't have stumbled on the iPhone, there would not be an Apple to talk about. And that's a fact.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 2:53:05 PM
Re: Always known
Statistics are not "facts". Everyone knows the saying "lies, damn lies and statistics". All I'm asking for, which you can't provide since you didn't write article, is some detail behind that claim. Heck, I don't even know what they are calling "support". For all I know, they are counting that time they are making the users install their own programs as less support. I'd be willing to bet that's the case.
hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2015 | 2:50:51 PM
Re: Always known
"When Apple starts making servers, then maybe I'll believe they care about enterprise."

 

Apple currently doesn't make servers, but Apple DID make servers for years previously.

 

Apple STILL does make a server version of OS X.

 

Not knowing something does NOT mean that it doesn't exist. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is an impediment to the advancement of knowledge.

 

And you still continue to bring up irrelevant diversions so that you can avoid accepting the indisputable facts that have been presented.
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