David Gruver, Field CTO at SHI, has had the opportunity to discuss the benefits (and holdbacks) of deploying the Mac ecosystem with countless people. The people David speaks with hold roles as varied as the industries in which they work, from tech resources who want to discuss challenges, step-by-step plans, and their own brand biases in-depth to decision makers who want to see progress and results today, not tomorrow.

The companies he works with also cover the entire spectrum of the stages of the shift to Mac, with some still being completely Windows-centric and others already having hundreds of Macs being used daily in their establishments.

With such a wide range of insight, David understands the draw to roll out the Mac ecosystem at scale in your company. He has also witnessed nearly everything that could go both right and wrong with such a large rollout.

Pros for Mac at scale

There is a new, emerging workforce of knowledge workers under the age of thirty. These new workers were essentially raised on Mac products, meaning the Mac ecosystem is second nature to them, and this allows them to rapidly unlock potential when entering a new Mac-backed role.

This same demographic is not nearly as accustomed to Windows, and this lack of familiarity can impact productivity. By meeting this new workforce where they already are, productivity can be amplified indefinitely.

Rolling out Mac at scale boosts diversity and resilience to supply chain issues. Instead of viewing a massive Mac rollout as a complete organizational change, it should be viewed as adding value. Through diversification, Mac devices can enhance the value of existing infrastructure in the business.

The added benefits Mac can bring to the table are universal and can be felt throughout a wide range of positions and industries. Yet, how can a company decide if the benefits outweigh the costs for them? Moreso, how do they decide how big the rollout should be and what positions it should encompass? After all, acquiring 2,500 Macs and a few pallets of iPads to make a complete and total shift is much different than adding a handful of Macs to the marketing office.

Through David’s rich experiences with this scenario, he has formulated a list of four questions to ask when considering a Mac rollout.

1. Are your business’s critical applications compatible with Mac?

Many newer companies run their operations through cloud-based, SaaS programs, such as the Microsoft Office suite, Google Cloud Platform, and more. “That is the easy button,” David says.

Companies in this scenario can swap to Mac at any time and scale they wish. With cloud-based applications, there are typically few concerns or holdbacks from a compatibility standpoint for the common cloud-based productivity apps.

On the other hand, older and more mature companies may have already built in-house applications. If those applications were built on a Windows platform, there could be compatibility problems. This can be an especially large dilemma for manufacturing facilities that are considering a Mac rollout.

“In manufacturing facilities, their applications are long-lived and they are deeply engrained into the company. Think about work order entry systems. Often, these apps are old enough to drive, vote, and drink,” David says. “The problem then becomes how do you adapt that app that was focused on Windows to run on Mac? The cost of that could be exorbitant, or you might be right there in that move to cloud motion.”

While some companies are focused on a lift-and-shift motion, others are making the jump to adaptation towards cloud-based applications. The latter category stands the better chance.

At the same time, even companies that are centered around an in-house application can make a shift to Mac that still brings impressive value, even if it is only a partial shift. This can be done by gauging the personas of your workforce.

2. Can you define personas that will benefit from the Mac platform?

When asking if a Mac rollout is the right course of action for a manufacturing floor that utilizes more legacy applications and has a slower pace of changing development, the answer is likely to be that it may not be the best fit.

That does not serve to say that every other member of the organization is stuck to Windows, however.

“I like to consider personas as an expanding circle,” David says. “At the center of that circle is commonality. Everyone needs email, collaboration tools, and some form of a security suite. From there, it moves out to task workers and knowledge workers, and they have differing characteristics.”

In a setting such as manufacturing, task workers may be the ones who are heavily tied to legacy applications. Yet, knowledge workers in IT, HR, engineering, sales, and finance may not have any ties to these holdbacks.

“Generally, creative personas gravitate towards Macs, such as marketers, video producers, content developers, and sales,” David says.

By creating a gauge of what is being utilized and where it is being utilized, you can begin smart application assignments and right-sizing hardware. “You do not want to be buying pickup trucks for people that are just going to the grocery store,” David says.

By collecting and organizing this data, making a strong decision on Mac rollouts becomes much easier. Additionally, the persona evaluation does not only provide value to the Mac discussion. Assessing personas can bring ongoing benefits to your entire organization. It helps ensure you right-size the endpoint hardware and the associated software and services for your users.

3. What is your IT team’s level of understanding of Mac?

Accessing your information technology team’s understanding of Mac management is crucial. In a Windows-centric organization, it may be easy to assume that no one has any knowledge of Mac platforms. Yet, that is likely not the case.

“Tech people are tech people. They like shiny new things,” David says. “Find the people within tech teams that have a passion for different platforms. Let them become the leaders of the change.”

While upskilling for Mac platforms will almost definitely be required, the passion and new mindset that these tech team members have will be the driving force behind improved outcomes.

4. Will your configuration management and security systems be compatible with Mac?

Closely and independently analyzing your company’s configuration management and security systems is key when determining a Mac rollout. If your company is using a legacy system built through Windows, it will likely need to be replaced with a new tool.

Still, there are many tools on the market that could meet the requirements of your company, as well as options to create similar legacy tools that are Mac-compatible. SaaS-based tools, such as Microsoft Intune and IBM’s MaaS360, can ensure a Mac rollout of any size goes extremely easy as well.

Interested in learning more about scaling Mac across your company? Listen to our full conversation where David shares more in-depth considerations to assess when asking these questions, tips for diversification, a brief analysis of the total cost of ownership, and more.