Macs Saving IBM Money on IT Management Despite Higher Up Front Cost

IBM this year began adopting Macs for its employees, a move the company says has been highly successful. Speaking at the JAMF Nation User Conference (via AppleInsider) earlier this week, IBM vice president of Workplace-as-a-Service Fletcher Previn said that far fewer Mac users require help with their machines than IBM's PC users.

"Every Mac that we buy is making and saving IBM money," he said, as the Macs require less management and setup effort than PCs, even though they cost more up front.

Just five percent of employees using Macs call IBM's internal help desk for troubleshooting, while 40 percent of the company's PC users make calls to the help desk. According to Previn, these numbers point towards the Mac's ease of use and the solid job the IBM team has done setting up Macs at the company. IBM's Mac onboarding experience is highly streamlined, making it easy for employees to do much of the setup work themselves in a short period of time.
IBM's deployment allows for employees to receive a shrink-wrapped, brand new Mac and quickly and easily set it up on their own. Using Apple's Device Enrollment Program and JAMF Software's Casper Suite, users set up and install IT-approved apps, software and configurations.

JAMF Software's Self Service allows IBM and its employees a simple method for installing licensed software. In an example given by Previn, the employee simply needs to click install for Microsoft Office, and IT will handle the licensing on the backend without exposing any of it to the user.
IBM is rolling out 1,900 Macs to its employees each week, and there are more than 130,000 iOS and Mac devices being used by IBM employees at the current time. In July, IBM CIO Jeff Smith said he thought IBM might end up purchasing 150,000 to 200,000 Macs on a regular basis for the company's 400,000 employees.

As of 2014, Apple and IBM have been working together to create specialized enterprise-focused apps and services for iOS devices. Under the partnership, IBM is selling iOS devices to its corporate customers, developing apps, and providing on-demand AppleCare service.

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56 months ago

Macs require less management and setup effort than PCs, even though they cost more up front ...

Just five percent of employees using Macs call IBM's internal help desk for troubleshooting, while 40 percent of the company's PC users make calls to the help desk.

This is not a fair comparison. In general, Mac users are more intelligent than PC users. That's why the Macs require less management and help from the sys admins.
Rating: 34 Votes
56 months ago
This seems to align with my personal experience in system administration. When I was a .NET programmer and running Windows, I was terrible ineffective and spent a lot of time troubleshooting issues or helping others with problems on their own Windows machines. I switched to Mac in 2006 and I could have been happier. My blood pressure is down and my productivity is up. I can tell Windows users I don't know how to fix their problem (because I honestly don't know what to do with that 40-bit hexadecimal error code in the registry) and I just hook them up with Macs. I set them up and basically forget them.
Rating: 18 Votes
56 months ago
As a user of three OSes, I'd say "you're just figuring this out now?", but I suppose this is a big step for a behemoth such as IBM, so good to hear! :D

what exactly is easier to do on a mac than a pc? i've tried both and macs simply have less customization than pcs..?

PCs quite simply tend to have more problems than Macs. Yes, the more limited selection of hardware helps, among other things, but regardless of the reason, it is definitely so. Lower cost for both setup and management. That's what Macs get you.
Rating: 16 Votes
56 months ago
So how long until Microsoft switches to Macs while shifting their entire focus to services?
Rating: 15 Votes
56 months ago
10 years ago I never would have guessed this would happen.
Rating: 14 Votes
56 months ago
Great news! Apple finally making inroads into large businesses will only make things better for desktop Mac users.
Rating: 14 Votes
56 months ago

what exactly is easier to do on a mac than a pc? i've tried both and macs simply have less customization than pcs..?

From my experience, it's more than just the difference between Mac OS and Windows. For example, I use my personal Mac when I work from home, and I boot into windows and use the same Windows OS and Windows apps that I do at work. But I have a MUCH better experience using my Mac (which is 7 years old compared to my work comp which is a nearly brand new and supposedly high-end Dell with solid specs). On my mac, unlike my company-supplied Dell, there is no lag when I have multiple apps and windows open, fewer apps crashing, etc. Since the only difference between the two is the hardware, it's clear that Apple hardware and hardware integration is far superior than that of other PC manufacturers.
Rating: 12 Votes
56 months ago

what exactly is easier to do on a mac than a pc? i've tried both and macs simply have less customization than pcs..?

As an honest answer, I'd say the issue is that MS
- cares too much about legacy
- exposes legacy too clearly
- hides what should be obvious, and exposes what should be hidden.

For example, OSX has a fairly clearly named Disk Utility app with fairly clearly exposed buttons for things like First Aid and Erase.

The equivalent on Windows is the Computer Management app (which is already somewhat problematic because the relationship between "Computer Management" and the "Add Hardware" bits of Control Panel is not at all clear. When you go to the Storage section of Computer management and look around you don't see anything that seems to correspond to a task you might care about (like erasing a disk or checking/fixing the file system) but you see a whole lot of buttons relevant to changing how the program looks (WTF? why is it important to have two buttons for changing the appearance of an already overly complicated program?), and the Action menu only offers to help you create VHDs [but provides a whole lot more ways to lay out the program --- honestly the program seems more interested in ways you can customize its appearance than in any actual computer management}.

But oh, in Windows, you don't actually use EITHER the Control Panel HW section OR the Computer Management app, instead you go to Windows Explorer, select the drive, right click, choose Properties, then in the dialog that comes up find the Tab named Tools.

The point is, all this makes a kind of vague sense if you have been part of the Windows world for 20 years, but it doesn't make sense to a novice. The way functionality (in particular system management functionality) is split across apps and various panels/dialogs reflects history and the addition of new features at different times; it does not reflect a "from the ground up" DESIGN of how to present this functionality, especially bearing in mind the common tasks that users care about.
Apple has been very willing to rethink this sort of workflow design over and over again. Obviously from MacOS to OSX was a big change, then there have been big changes in various apps over the years, just in 10.11 Disk Utility got something of a redesign. MS in the past was terrified to do this sort of large change, and when they finally did (with Windows 8) they made something of a clusterfsck of it, leaving out important functionality, often caring about appearance over usability, and generally enacting a parody of Mac design, a cargo cult that assumed the magic was all in the pixels and that didn't realize the magic is in
(a) asking what the IMPORTANT work flows are,
(b) testing your assumptions against reality and
(c) fixing when your assumptions are proved wrong.

Networking on Windows is the same sort of godawful mess. What ARE Homegroups? What problem do they solve? Why when I go more than one level deep in any network dialog do I start seeing these network terms from the 1980s -- NetBIOS and BEUI and a full tree of every driver that's running my network connection?
Again sure, this stuff is necessary for some purpose --- have it available for those who need it, but don't mix it up with the material that's required by your basic user just trying to get basic internet working.
MS does a little better with say Win7 than with XP, but once again they're frightened to actually rethink and utterly redesign the full work flow, so we get band aids on a messy system, not a clean UI design.

Meanwhile Apple is constantly trying to simplify the user view of this stuff. The full power is there, if you want to launch a command-line or root around inside the Utilities folder; but Apple tries to hide what most people don't need. So, for example, a few OS revisions ago they started to hide the ~/Library folder, presumably because
- almost no-one actually needs to interact with it and
- those who did interact with it tended to screw things up.
(~/Library is full of stuff that looks like you don't need it. Per user prefs, per user caches, log files, and basically every "technical" file that an app needs but that is not a user created document.) You can still open the folder if you believe you need to, from the command-line, but Apple has ensured that the ignorant cannot shoot themselves in the foot.
Similarly they started a few revs ago to largely present in Finder a file system that appears rooted in your home folder. You can break out of that to see the higher levels of the file system but once again you have to work to do that, and Apple's belief (one I'd agree with, based on how I've seen family use their Macs) is that most users do not NEED to know that there is anything on their hard drives beyond their personal home directory, and allowing them to explore there just causes trouble.

You could argue that Windows tries to do the same thing in Windows Explorer, and they tried to do it before Apple, presenting eg the Libraries section of the sidebar. But in my opinion (I think validated by IBM's experience) once again they did the job half-heartedly and instead of constant iteration and improvement, they made one set of changes and then appeared to lose interest. With Apple you see a pattern where, pretty much every rev of OSX from 10.0 has worked harder and harder to hide the dangerous parts of the file system from the user (and to prevent them from HAVING to interact with those dangerous parts). On Windows you don't see that CONSTANT attempt at improvement and the removal of problem areas.
Rating: 12 Votes
56 months ago
With Mac you pay for quality and a better system :)
Rating: 12 Votes
56 months ago
what exactly is easier to do on a mac than a pc? i've tried both and macs simply have less customization than pcs..?
Rating: 12 Votes

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