IBM touts major Mac cost savings; IT professionals still hesitant

For the second year in a row, IBM’s Fletcher Previn wowed the audience at the JAMF user conference with impressive statistics on how the company’s growing Mac-based workforce is delivering dramatic and measurable business value.

IBM expects Macs to save $26M in IT costs over four years
Big Blue says each Mac device will save them at least $265 over a four-year lifespan (and up to $535 depending on model) versus comparable PCs. With IBM’s Mac workforce at 90,000 (and adding 1,300 Mac users per month), that adds up to more than $26 million savings over the next four years—a huge margin. Simpler IT support and a high level of user self-service drive the bulk of this cost savings. IBM reports that just 3.5 percent of its Mac users currently call the help desk, compared to 25 percent of its PC users. This enables IBM to support 90,000+ Mac users (and 217,000 Apple device users) with just 50 IT employees.

It’s not just IT cost savings driving Mac adoption among big names in business tech. Deloitte calls iOS “the most secure platform for business” and says “Apple’s products are essential to the modern workforce.” Cisco has also jumped on the Apple bandwagon, believing Apple devices will accelerate productivity. Basic user satisfaction also shouldn’t be ignored, as IBM reports a 91 percent satisfaction rate among Mac users and says its pro-Mac policies help the company attract and retain top talent.

The average enterprise is still hesitant about widespread Mac deployment
It’s one thing for big-name tech innovators like IBM and Cisco to proclaim the promise of Macs in the enterprise, but what’s happening across the rest of the enterprise landscape? Code42 recently conducted a survey on Mac deployment among our diverse business contacts, and the results tell a less enthusiastic story.

Macs have a major—and growing—presence in the modern enterprise
Among Code42’s enterprise contacts, one-third (33.6%) have more than 500 Mac users and one in five (22.8%) have 1,000+ Mac users. These numbers further demonstrate that the modern enterprise is supporting OS diversity with a substantial Mac-based workforce—and we fully expect these numbers to grow in the coming years.

User preference—not business value—still drives most Mac adoption
While IBM and others put total cost of ownership, security and productivity as top reasons for Mac adoption, our results show user preference continues to be the main reason that enterprises are embracing Macs today.

Top reasons for Mac adoption
1. Happier end users (37%)
2. Fewer help desk tickets (14%)
3. Better OS security (12%)

Top IT challenges are Macs’ top strengths
Our survey showed the time-consuming burdens of tech refresh and help desk tickets are the most significant IT challenges associated with end user devices across operating systems, followed by malware/ransomware. These challenges are actually two of Mac devices’ greatest strengths. Macs traditionally enable a much higher level of self-service, and Code42 enables user-driven tech refresh for Mac users (and PC users, too). This level of self-service produces the kind of IT cost savings IBM has seen with its dramatically reduced help desk tickets. For the time being, Macs also continue to be less targeted and less vulnerable to malware and ransomware.

Many IT professionals remain wary of widespread Mac deployment
While our survey showed most enterprises may not be seeing million-dollar IT savings from Mac deployments, they did report a range of definitive benefits. So it’s revealing that one in five respondents said they’re ultimately not big fans of their companies’ Mac adoption.

Realizing advantages of Macs in the enterprise requires preparation, time
Supporting a large Mac-based workforce isn’t as simple as flicking a switch or changing a policy. It requires substantial changes to technology infrastructure and processes to make sure everything from calendars to apps to backup work seamlessly across both Mac and PC users. This often leaves IT stuck in the middle of user preferences and resource realities: Users want Macs, but IT needs the time—and the budget—to put the tools and processes in place to support a hybrid workforce.

But with IBM’s results ringing in the ears of the business world, more and more companies of every size and in every industry are sure to begin exploring the benefits of a larger Mac-based workforce. The best strategy for IT leaders is to act now to get ahead of this inevitable shift. Start examining your infrastructure to find the holes in Mac compatibility, and seek out technology partners that build solutions for this modern hybrid device environment.

Or, as IBM’s Previn put it, “Give employees the devices they want, manage those devices in a modern way, and drive self sufficiency in the environment.”

To learn more about how endpoint backup can protect the data on enterprise Macs, download the market brief Securing & Enabling the Mac-Empowered Enterprise.

Code42 secures and enables the Mac-Empowered Enterprise.


2 responses to “IBM touts major Mac cost savings; IT professionals still hesitant

  1. In what way are the more recent Macs self-serviceable? When it comes to the laptops, the hard drives and RAM are soldered to the motherboards. Almost none of the parts are user replaceable. The situation is not much different for the desktop Macs. For example, the 2013 Mac Pro is not as configurable or expandable as the old cheese-grater Mac Pro towers.

    I assume Mr. Previn means “self-service” in terms of just the software.

    1. Yes, software was the intended angle when talking about self-service. While many in IT feel the management is more difficult with Macs, there seems to be more applications that were created with the end-user in mind, and allow them to help themselves more often. Of course, whether they will is always up to each user.

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