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 the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2015 | 2:44:31 PM
Re: Always known
"so what is 40% less than next to nothing?"

Your subjective personal experience is meaningless compared to IBM's data on it's over 100,000 employess who use Windows PCs and Macs.

 

You can ignore facts all you like, but they are just not going away. ;-))
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 2:40:55 PM
Re: Always known
You mentioned "malware, hardware and o/s problems", period, Those are hardly details. Mac has hard drives, NICs, etc just like Wintel. As far as malware, same as always, not enough install base to interest the bad guys yet. I rarely get support calls with those problems, so what is 40% less than next to nothing? I'm already one person, how you going to put 60% of me in place if we run Macs?

As far as bias, I'm a developer for IBM's i5 server (formally AS400), I have no love for Windows. But I know the software we use here, including IBM's own Client Access to provide 5250 connectivity, runs on Linux and Win, not Mac. We use Infor's ERP LX (formally BPCS), it does not run on Mac. I don't believe SAP even runs on Macs.

Maybe you can tell me what you use instead of Group Policy and Active Directory on all these Macs? Does a Mac make DHCP go away?

If there is one company in world who could get by without Windows, it's IBM. Funny how they never decided to make this move until this "partnership" with Apple. What surprised me was they were running Windows at all and not Linux, who they are huge supporters of. If you don't see this as IBM marketing that partnership, period, then I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

Macs are great for consumers because that's where Apple has always wanted them. This BS from IBM doesn't change that overnight. When Apple starts making servers, then maybe I'll believe they care about enterprise.
hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Strategist
10/19/2015 | 2:11:51 PM
Re: Always known
"How about some detail of WHY Macs would require less support than Windows? Otherwise this is just observation without correlation."

 

There are many reasons "why", and I've already mentioned a few of those reasons. But your question is just diversionary. You seem unwilling to accept clear factual data provided by IBM that 40% of its Windows users required support, while only 5% of its Mac users needed support. Ignoring facts does not make those facts go away.

 

"Maybe the fact Mac's run so little business software from 3rd parties is the driver of this."

 

That is NOT a "fact"... It is your own biased misconception (which is also completely opposite of what is factual). All major commercial software is available in both Windows and Mac formats. For the few lesser commercial applications that don't have a Mac version, there are Mac software applications (usually of better design and quality) that do the same things, and can import and export the same files.

 

Are there custom developed Windows-only software applications that some companies have had developed for their needs? Of course... Just as there are other companies that have Mac-only software that was developed for their specific needs.

 

One other thing that you should be aware of. Macs can run BOTH Mac software AND Windows software simultaneously, while Windows PCs can only run Windows software. In other words, it is the Windows PC that is restricted in the software that it can run, NOT the Mac!
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2015 | 1:53:49 PM
Re: Always known
How about some detail of WHY Macs would require less support than Windows? Otherwise this is just observation without correlation. Although primarily a developer, I'm the lone IT person onsite in a business unit with about 60 Windows 7 machines and 40 Win Terminal Server thin client desktops used on shop floor, all scattered across three plants in the area.

So I have to get involved in that stuff way more than I would like. My observation is the user's problems rarely have anything to do with Windows itself, but the applications running on Win machines. Maybe the fact Mac's run so little business software from 3rd parties is the driver of this. If you disagree, send me list of the top 5 ERP systems that run natively on Macs.

Or at least list some common support things that occur on Win but not on Macs.
hlubinv8l
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hlubinv8l,
User Rank: Strategist
10/18/2015 | 1:54:01 PM
Always known
People who have worked in environments with Macs and Windows PCs have always known that Macs require much less support and have much less downtime than other PCs.

This not only saves money in support time, but also means that there is much less non-productive time for users. Mac users don't suffer to the same extent the many operating system and malware problems, or the hardware troubles, that Windows PC users must contend with.

Macs also have much greater longevity than most other PCs, and Mac users keep and continue using their computers for years more than the average Windows PC, so the per annum costs are much lower.

With all of these cost savings, it always confounds me when some people say that Macs are "too expensive", when clearly the opposite is the case.
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