Presented by iStore Business

Why more and more South African companies are making the Big Switch to happiness with Mac

 ·15 Mar 2023

“Why switch?” It’s a question Robert Kroger hears a lot these days. As Apple Business Manager at iStore Business, he’s well-practised at making the business case for switching from legacy PC systems to Mac in the corporate IT environment.

Whether the prospective client is an SMME or a major corporation, the easy answer is the mantra Steve Jobs would use when showcasing an Apple product or feature during an on-stage keynote.

“It just works!”

As a testament to the reliability, stability, ease of use, high performance and advanced technology of Apple’s products, it’s a proposition that invites hands-on affirmation.

But few businesses would invest in a major systems switch on the basis of a slogan or demo alone. So when faced with a room full of IT professionals, Robert likes to begin with a question of his own.

“When it comes to user productivity,” he asks, “what would you say is the most important device?” Followed a little later by: “Are you happy with what you’ve got?”

Happiness. It may sound like a subjective measure of persuasion, but there’s some hard science at the heart of it.

According to a 2021 case study by iStore Business, which currently supports and supplies more than half of the Top 100 Companies in South Africa, employees in a Mac-centric organisation report 90% user satisfaction with their devices, along with a productivity gain of more than 230 hours per year.

“If you’re happy with your technical equipment, it means you’re happy at your job, because it’s your primary productivity tool,” explains Robert. “If you have a computer you can rely on, if you have a computer you can choose and be happy with, you find that your productivity starts going up.”

This is especially so for users of the new generation of M1 and M2 MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, adds Robert, since their best-in-class battery life — up to 18 hours on a full charge — makes them ideal for South Africa’s constrained and unpredictable power conditions.

“They’re built to sail their way through load shedding with ease,” says Robert.

In terms of overall power and performance, compared to the latest model of an equivalent PC notebook, Apple’s tests show that the MacBook Air M1 is twice at fast at Excel, 50% faster for web app responsiveness, twice as fast for browser graphics, and twice as long-lasting for video calls.

The even happier news, for those who pull the pursestrings, is that as user productivity and satisfaction go up in a Mac-centric organisation, so do overall costs come down.

That’s in part because the costs of deploying, provisioning, and supporting Mac devices are significantly lower than the costs for PCs.

As Robert explains, iStore Business uses a system called “zero-touch deployment” to get an organisation’s Mac machines up and running.

What this means, in the age of hybrid work, is that computers can be pre-configured and drop-shipped to workers, wherever they may be working, using the free Apple Business Manager app and a Mobile Device Management (MDM) toolset for secure and customised setup.

Gone is the need for IT departments to physically touch or prepare the devices. All the end-user has to do is lift the lid of their MacBook and log-in with their Apple ID credentials.

But what of the user who has never set hands on a Mac before? No problem, says Robert.

“We actually come into your environment and we set up an MDM for you. We’ve taken teams that have had no Apple experience at all, and in the space of two weeks, they’re ready to run Mac. It’s not difficult, and there’s no reason to be scared of it.”

That ease of setup is matched by ongoing ease of support, with updates and security fixes pushed remotely to devices, be they iMacs or MacBooks or iPads or even the Apple TV in the boardroom.

As Robert puts it, “Ninety-nine point nine per cent of Apple support tickets can be resolved remotely, even to the point where you can wipe the machine and reinstall. You don’t have to bring it in to get it done.”

In cases where iStore Business takes on the role of IT support for a company, they are able to do so with optimum efficiency, needing only one support technician for up to 1,000 users.

“That cuts down a lot of your operational costs,” says Robert. “In a typical IT environment,  your hardware amounts to only about 30 per cent of your total cost of ownership. The rest is maintenance and support.”

In a Mac environment, “It just works” means just that, thanks to the efficiencies of the hardware and software ecosystem.

“A Mac is just built well, it’s built to a high standard,” says Robert. “Your microphone doesn’t go, your keyboard is good, your screen is very good and bright. So the end-user doesn’t experience problems that they need to report.”

Getting back to the Happiness Equation, if a user is happy with the machine they’re using, they’re more likely to take good care of it, which ultimately means more happiness for the IT team.

The 2021 iStore Business case study revealed a 63% reduction in support tickets, compared to a PC-based environment, and a 30% reduction in support costs.

So confident is iStore Business of the cost efficiencies and user satisfaction rate of a switch to Mac, that they’ve introduced a system called Buy & Try.

“We back ourselves and say, if you buy it, you can rent it for 90 days, and you get free technical support from us. If it doesn’t work for you, we’ll refund you 100 per cent.”

That’s on top of the iStore Business Flexi Rentals offering, which gives companies the option of returning devices after a set period, thus off-setting the upfront costs.

“You need a strategy to manage risk and uncertainty,” says Robert. “If all of a sudden you have a workforce that is shrinking, and you’ve extended all this money on your IT equipment, what do you do? We find so many companies that have so many devices that they’re not using. With Flexi Rentals, you can return the goods. You’re not beholden for five years.”

If the question, to begin with, is “why switch?”, then the bigger question, in more and more modern IT environments, is: how.

By making the switching process easier than ever, and putting the focus on Apple’s most powerful portable devices ever, the M1 and M2 MacBooks, Robert has come to see a distinct switch in attitudes too.

“We used to be seen as IT’s enemy,” he says. “Now, we’re IT’s friends. We’re not there to disrupt. We’re there to help businesses get self-sufficient, by giving them what they need to just work.”

Contact us to see how we can help you make the switch

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