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Windows-centric IBM changes its tune on Mac deployments

Ann Bednarz | Oct. 19, 2015
Four months into new program, IBM dispels cost assumptions about Macs, raves about ease of support

At the same time, customer satisfaction is improved. The help desk is achieving 85% customer satisfaction – and 95% of employees say they are satisfied or very satisfied with the skill level of the person they spoke to, Previn said. “That’s a much higher CSAT than I see on the PC help desk.”

Why is that? “When you do get through to this help desk, you actually talk to someone who can resolve your problem. You don’t get sent to tier two, or tier three, or assigned to a special help desk. You get your problem fixed.”

And it’s still early days. Measuring the benefits is a work in progress, but “the longer this program runs, the more compelling the business case becomes,” Previn said. “The incremental purchase price of the Mac definitely is paying for itself – and then some – in reduced support burden” over the life of the device.

While Previn said he can’t share a dollar figure yet, “I can confidently say every Mac that we buy is making and saving IBM money.”

Soft benefits are real

While the business case focuses primarily on hard cost gains, IBM recognizes soft benefits, as well. One example is the company’s ability to attract and retain technical talent.

Using Macs at work "is something people want. It makes them happier, it makes them more productive. And increasingly, we see it as a competitive disadvantage not to allow employees to have a choice in this space,” Previn said. “We see a lot of people who see it as a condition of employment.”

What about the app gap?

That’s the most common question Previn gets asked. His answer: “My own experience is that it’s much less of a real issue than people make it out to be before you start.”

There will be applications that don’t work, but it’s a lot fewer than what is often asserted.

IBM has an application portfolio of about 3,000 apps, and Previn knows there's never going to be a business case to go in and overhaul 3,000 applications. "But what we can do is bring that data forward into new interfaces, either by way of native apps, or web experiences, preferably by way of APIs,” he said.

One example is IBM’s newly created ManagerHub, which pulls the data that managers need from multiple legacy systems – for tasks such as performance management and compensation – into a single app.

For companies that are considering a move to Macs, Previn doesn’t recommend spending too much time on app readiness assessments, which he sees as a great way to justify doing nothing. Instead, let the device rollout drive the app rationalization work, not the other way around.


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