A WiPro recent survey finds 59% of IT leaders would choose a Mac if given the choice, because doing so delivers recruitment, productivity and staff retention benefits. This being a big week for Apple in the enterprise tech, I spoke with WiPro’s GM Apple Practice and Interactive Experience, Michael Vollmer.
The experience is the workplace
“If you think about it, the one constant in an employee’s workday is their IT experience. Whether that experience is good or bad has a significant impact on the morale and tone of the organization,” Vollmer said.
(That’s in line with the thinking of Jamf CEO Dean Hager who told me this week that “technology has become the entire employee experience”.)
Vollmer observes that while most enterprises keep tight control of all other forms of communication, no one seems to review the message sent in the form of corporate IT.
In essence, he argues, the IT experience should communicate that a business trusts its employees, wants them to be creative and wants to help them be productive.
“This is why choice matters as it communicates to employees that organizations understand that not everyone works the same (empathy) and that the heart of an organization is its people (not its policies),” he told me.
“It recognizes that by enabling people to choose their devices, tools, and other IT solutions used, they are enabling individuals to be their most productive, creative and collaborative selves.
“This translates into attracting better talent, higher employee loyalty, and stronger client relationships,” he explains.
When did the shift to choice take place?
“We’ve seen a shift in sentiment fuelled by the employee choice journey which started with the iPhone,” he said, reflecting back to when BlackBerry dominated the enterprise market before it was replaced by the Apple phone.
[Also read: 10+ reasons enterprises need an employee choice program]
“From an enterprise context, the downfall of Blackberry started with iPhone evangelists that brought their personal devices to work,” he said, recollecting the start of the BYOD movement.
“Once iPhone established a foothold, you started to see the same story play out, but this time it was Mac vs PC. The tipping point was when Microsoft announced that Office365 coming to the Apple App store.”
The future happen in the rear view mirror, of course, but if you stop to look at yesterday you’ll see that as one after another of the Fortune 500 moved to embrace Apple solutions for mobile, they also took one step toward embracing the Mac.
Early hesitancy to do so among corporations has gathered momentum and is now a flood — but that flood has some way to rise yet, Vollmer said:
“Given the choice, 59 percent of employees would choose Mac, but today, only 32 percent use Mac at work.”
‘Apple is primed for continued success in the enterprise’
Security challenges add to the argument.
As the enterprise becomes both remote and mobile the need for security is intensifying, as is the need for regulatory compliance.
Vollmer tells me that CIO’s have figured out that Macs could bring a solution to both these challenges within their grasp.
“We know that employees often bring their own Apple devices to replace enterprise-issued devices at work. This is driven by Apple’s focus on user experience – in most cases, consumers find Apple products easy to use,” he said.
“Add to that a legacy of innovation, product design excellence, and built-in security features, and you can begin to see why Apple is primed for continued success in the enterprise.”
Digital transformation happened decades ago
The new workforce already lives like the Jetsons at home.
They grew up with iMacs, iBooks, iPods and iPhones and expect to use these solutions at work, not just at home. While older employees may be accustomed to the confinement of the Windows monoculture, Millennials and Zoomers are not, they have always had choices.
“As these digital natives begin reaching leadership positions within their organizations, they are starting to challenge that status quo and as a result, you are seeing companies embrace choice.
“Through this, employee satisfaction is growing, opportunities for improved security through modern tools/approaches are improving, and organizations can do both without increasing their overall operating costs,” Vollmer said.
The takeaway must therefore be that while we perceive that enterprise IT is moving away from Windows monoculture in relatively recent years, the foundations for that change were built across decades.
They grew up together.
COVID-19 and the new workplace
Flexible/remote working is surely here to stay.
It was a shift that was already taking place before COVID-19 changed everything, and it has now accelerated. “The way we work has been largely disrupted and we will see the effects for many years to come,” Vollmer said.
“The pandemic has forced organizations to think more about remote work and how to make it both possible and productive for employees in a very short period,” he told me.
“The lines between our work and personal lives have been blurred significantly and employees are often finding themselves “always on” when our homes double as our offices.”
Apple’s platform integration is a big advantage for knowledge workers.
“Apple has tended to embrace the remote work mindset while embedding features into their devices that enable easy transfer of work between different Apple devices,” Vollmer says.
The new workplace is flexible, remote and multi-platform, and Apple has been working to try to make sure its solutions play well with other enterprise platforms.
This means that the “transition to an integrated Mac and PC environment is easily manageable and can be brought forth with minimal hiccups. In a single stroke they can enhance security, within budgets, and delight employees across devices,” he said.
Datapoints from the WiPro report
Vollmer spoke with me following the recent publication of WiPro’s ‘Why Device Choice Matters to Employees’ study.
Here’s a selected summary of some of its key findings:
- 57% of employees think companies that don’t offer choice are less innovative.
- 66% will accept a job offer from a company that does offer choice above one that does not.
- At present, just 32% of employees use Macs.
- If given the choice, 59% would use Macs.
- Over 70% of employees think they are more productive, more loyal and more engaged when given tech choice.
- 60% of PC users think they would be more productive with a Mac.
Are you in the business of digital transformation? An enterprise embracing choice schemes, or a company who’d like to share your experience? I’ve spent years on a mission to learn everything there is to learn about Apple in the enterprise, so please drop me a line. (And if you want initial advice to help guide your journey, feel free to ask).
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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.