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10+ reasons enterprises need an employee choice program

In truth, the enterprise computing environment stopped being a monoculture many years ago; today’s businesses use a mix of platforms and devices to get things done – and this has led to an expansion in the number of companies offering employee choice programs.

What is an employee choice program?

The idea is pretty simple:

  • New employees joining a company are offered a choice of computing platforms and devices to use at work.
  • Company tech support is equipped to handle mixed-platform environments, and company IT infrastructure is designed to be platform agnostic.
  • Where legacy technologies are still in use, internal or outsourced IT will work to figure out workarounds to interoperability issues.
  • In many cases, these mixed-platform networks are supported by SaaS and other forms of cloud service provider.

So, why does your company need an employee choice program?

1: Because you want the best staff

There’s plenty of evidence to show that most new employees will choose an Apple when given the chance to do so. A PwC survey claims 78% of millennials believe having access to the tech they like at work makes them more effective.

2: Because you want to keep those staff

When you consider the cost of staff recruitment, it makes sense to retain workers  rather than replace them. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us retention relies on lots of things: money helps, but so does autonomy, personal progression – and using great tools.

Apple’s products demonstrate remarkably high user satisfaction levels, and this reflects on employee satisfaction at work. IBM recently confirmed Net Promoter Scores among Mac-using employees to be three times that of Windows users at IBM (47.5 v. 15). That means Mac users are 17% less likely to leave the company. A Gensler Workplace study claims giving employees platform choice boosts innovation, performance and satisfaction at work.

3: You might save money

IBM made waves in 2016 when it told us its own experience reveals it saves over $500 when employees choose a Mac rather than a Windows PC for work.

Why?

In part because employees using Macs make less support requests – IBM claims Windows users are, “five times more likely to need on-site help desk support than Mac users.” (Interestingly, 31% of Mac problems relate to login and credential issues). In other words, Apple kit means the total cost of ownership (TCO) might be lower.

4: You could make money

SAP’s vice president for enterprise mobility, Martin Lang, IBM and other big names in enterprise IT claim that equipping employees with Apple’s solutions generates big gains in productivity. “The only way to increase productivity at SAP is to increase the productivity of the people,” Lang said.

5: Software and systems stay up-to-date

Apple publishes regular software updates for all its products, and these are easy to install, reducing the need for IT support to manage the process. And if they want to manage the process, there are plenty of systems that enable them to do so; 82% of Mac users at SAP are already on Catalina. And remember, Apple equipment tends to be less fault-prone and more reliable.

6: IT becomes a cost benefit

What happens when your highly experienced IT teams no longer need to spend their day upgrading computers and helping people with problems?

They get to do something else: your tech experts can focus on systems integration, software enhancements and building new digital technologies to help keep your business competitive.

IBM says it needs one engineer to support 10,000 Windows devices, but notes that that same engineer can support 30,000 Macs.

7: Migration is easier

With cloud services ascendant and enterprise-focused MDM systems such as Jamf or Addigy available to enterprise IT, the fact that Apple has made it super-easy to migrate from one of its devices to a replacement device isn’t just a convenience, it’s a measurable cost benefit. IBM reckons five times as many Windows users as Mac users have problems migrating to a new system.

8: Old tech never dies

Four years on and your Apple equipment retains a relatively high resale value. How you choose to release that value is up to you: give EOL machines to staff, sell or part exchange them for new equipment?

That thousand-dollar PC may raise you $200 four years later, while that thousand-dollar Mac may yield $400. That value can go back into your business in cash or in improved employee satisfaction.

9: Macs can run Windows

Apple’s Boot Camp lets you run a Windows partition on your Mac. You can also use third-party solutions such as VMWare or Parallels to run the rival OS. This support means you can continue to use Apple kit with legacy Windows-based systems and/or business processes while you replace or upgrade them.

And if your Windows install gets a virus, it’s much easier to replace a virtual partition than an entire Windows machine.

10: Mobile apps for all

iPhones are already in wide use across enterprise IT. iPad use is growing fast. Apple’s Catalyst tech makes it possible to more easily port iOS apps from iPads to Macs, which means those mobile tools you’ve built for your mobile teams will work across all three platforms. As every enterprise becomes a mobile enterprise, this makes a big difference.

11: Look at the evidence

IBM CIO Fletcher Previn said in 2019: “…I don’t know if better employees want Macs, or giving Macs to employees makes them better. You got to be careful about cause and effect — but there seems to be a lot of corroborating evidence that says you want to have a choice program.”

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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9 challenges Apple-based enterprises face in 2020

Enterprise technology continues to evolve at an incredibly rapid rate, with emerging technologies creating a business environment of constant change. What challenges should Apple-using enterprises think about in 2020?

Preparing for 5G

Apple is expected to introduce 5G devices in 2020. Meanwhile 5G networks are being put in place so that when the iPhone 5G does appear it will have a network to run on.

We’re in the early days of this deployment, and it’s likely your enterprise is already looking to how the standard can support its work.

Smart cities, smart factories, IoT deployments, smart homes and an array of high-bandwidth consumer and enterprise service developments loom.

How will your business make use of them? Or invent them? (Hint: 5G for enterprise is not about faster video conferencing systems).

Augmenting the human

Gartner observes that humans have been augmenting themselves for years, and this trend will only intensify in 2020. What might this mean in terms of iOS app development?

Think field service information delivered by ears using AirPods, iPhones or Apple Watch; think increased use of solutions such as Apple Business Chat and consider new and innovative ways in which your enterprise can enhance customer, employee or B2B experiences using ARKit.

These VR/AR experiences can be supported and contextualized by the sensors that already exist within these devices: gyroscopes, location sensing, altimeters, activity data, and more – with this information resting private on the end user device.

Voice first skills

The proliferation of voice assistants, smart speakers and other voice-activated technologies poses new challenges.

One of these challenges is around search.

Conventionally, if your SEO strategy gets your brand to the front page of specific searches around your keywords you will do better than you do on page two.

However, most voice assistants prioritize the top search above all others requiring interrogators actively request additional results. Increasingly, these voice assistants also check for location data – a search for “Legal advice near me” will deliver highly localized results for that term.

And this means local SEO

SEO has always been important, but keyword research, strategic positioning and investment in local contextual terms matter so much more if you want to ensure that when AirPod using potential consumers search for your service it’s you they find, rather than your competitor in the next street. SEO, particularly local SEO, will be a key skill in a voice first environment. Are you investing in it?

Get to know Swift (and adopt an iPad-first development strategy

Apple continues to develop and improve its Swift programming language, introducing new tools and evangelizing use of the development code. Apps developed using Swift have an easier time when developers migrate between Apple’s platforms.

Apple’s decision to facilitate the process of porting iPad apps to Macs with Catalyst will also impact Apple-focused enterprises: it’s possible that some app development projects will build for iPad first, only to then migrate that code to iPhones and Macs.

The devil’s in the detail, of course, and Catalyst doesn’t yet support everything some apps may need, but Swift (and OS) iterations mean those missing fragments are likely to be introduced over time.

The take-away is that your enterprise needs to invest in Swift development and iPad OS skills.

Familiarity breeds contentment

Think about the nature of how those using your apps interact with technology.

It’s likely that Macs, iPads, iPhones, smartwatches, and other mobile and PC platforms all feature to a greater or lesser extent.

That’s why app/interface designs should be familiar on all supported platforms – particularly if you want people to use the apps you provide, rather than unapproved alternatives.

Your employees are your customers, too, and want the same UI simplicity in your enterprise-related apps as they get on any other app they use.

Particularly if you want them to stick around.

Being human smart about machine intelligence

Digital transformation is unlocking business improvement through a huge range of technologies, from process automation to autonomous machines to AI-driven ships navigation systems and more.

As AI evolves we will see an increase in the quantity of tasks handled by connected systems and autonomous machines, but managing all this change internally and ensuring high quality external customer experiences requires most enterprises to invest in human “soft” skills.

Delivering human-centred user experiences will require deep thinking about the value of your employees. Those with the very best soft skills will be hard to find, hard to keep and will want to work for companies they believe in.

They will also be Apple literate, reflecting today’s environment in which support for Apple products is an HR challenge.

One more thing: Beyond HR, how can your company make use of the machine learning components Apple already provides inside its operating systems in your business?

Thinking about endpoints

Where does all your enterprise data live?

Typically, you’ll secure much of this in highly encrypted cloud implementations, but much of the day-to-day information – and access to all your most sensitive information – also lives (or is accessible) on your enterprise fleet of mobile devices.

What this means is that it is becoming as necessary to protect individual users and individual devices just as much as it is to protect your cloud servers and core IT systems.

This favors Apple with its highly evolved on-device privacy models, but also requires use of Mobile Device Management systems, situationally aware AI-supported network and device security systems and endpoint/edge-device security monitoring solutions.

Meanwhile – your employees are your device managers, so you’d better equip them for these challenges: No one follows a security policy if they don’t understand why they should.

Data security, transparency and control

If your enterprise gathers data then you’ll already be meeting regulatory requirements to protect that information and to develop increasingly transparent storage and accountability practises.

The fact that both Google and Apple have moved to provide users with slightly more control over what happens to that data should be seen as a warning that your enterprise will likely need to follow suit, if not voluntarily then in response to legal or customer demand.

Transparency, traceability and control of data is emerging to be a huge issue.

Not only are consumers increasingly aware of the need for it, but all your business partners will face similar concerns too. If nothing else, handling the regulatory burden of data transparency is likely to occupy more of your time (and budget) in 2020, whether you’re an individual app developer or an enterprise using Apple equipment.

The bottom line? If your business doesn’t really need other people’s data, don’t gather it.

What other trends do you think Apple-based enterprises should think about today? Let me know via social media links below.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.





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7 reasons Chromebooks are ideal for enterprises

Are Chromebooks on their way to becoming mainstream computers in the enterprise?

Not quite yet. But there’s no doubt that laptops that run on Chrome OS have gained traction in the market and will continue to do so as enterprises move deeper into cloud infrastructures and apps.

There are several well-known reasons for adding Chrome OS devices to your arsenal, including tighter security, easier management and greater ease of use for your workforce. If users know their way around the Chrome browser, they can use a Chromebook. Here are seven additional reasons why your organization might want to consider Chrome OS computers in 2020.

1. Chromebooks are hot

In terms of traditional desktop and laptop device global sales, Windows is expected to comprise 83% of the market in 2020, with Chrome OS and macOS in second place at 7.5% each, according to Linn Huang, research vice president of devices and displays at research firm IDC.



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1Password is changing the way enterprises secure their data

Data breaches are a nightmare for any company. The expenses for mitigation and the loss of trust from customers and clients can be devastating, even putting some companies out of business. That’s why it’s so important to put security at the very core of your enterprise; it shouldn’t be an afterthought. 

That’s where 1Password Business can help: it’s easy to implement, cost-effective, and can provide a measurable impact on security just days after roll out. 1Password Advanced Protection provides extensive monitoring tools, giving you — and not the malicious actors threatening your business —  control of your security.

The biggest security threat to companies is human error. Employees hold valuable data in their hands, and sometimes it goes astray. Whether it’s a mistake or negligence, people can’t be perfect all the time. 1Password can fill in those gaps and immediately make your company more secure.

The real key to security is having control over your sensitive information, and that’s where Advanced Protection is crucial. This new suite of security features allows administrators to examine or block logins from specific locations, IP addresses, and more. You also can set rules for Master Passwords and force two-factor authentication for all team members.

1Password Business allows you to securely share passwords across teams and departments; every member of your organization has access to the information they need when they need it. But just as crucially, 1Password Business makes it easy to ensure that only the people who need access have it, so you aren’t unnecessarily sharing sensitive information across your company.

Watchtower, included with 1Password, also plays a vital role in keeping businesses safe: it keeps track of data breaches and alerts you to compromised passwords. If one of your passwords is breached, or a site where you hold an account is hacked, Watchtower will let you know that it’s time to change your password. It also alerts you to reused passwords, insecure passwords, and weak passwords, so you know where your team’s password problems are and can easily take corrective action.

If you’re looking to increase your company’s security, join the 50,000 businesses that already use 1Password to protect their sensitive information. Learn more about what 1Password Business can do for your enterprise and request a custom quote for your company.

This story, “1Password is changing the way enterprises secure their data” was originally published by

CIO.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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The Enterprise’s Guide to IT-as-a-Service

It shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing IT consumption conundrum: a full-blown, high-capacity data-center solution including services you don’t need, or piecemeal solutions for each capacity need from storage to databases.

Cloud has alleviated many pressures on the data center, offering scalability, availability, and storage capacity, as well as cost savings. Yet some workloads and applications are better suited on premises, whether for security, compliance, or performance reasons.

At the same time, having to manage both cloud and on-premises environments can create new IT headaches. That’s why some companies are considering a new model to better address consumption and capacity challenges: IT-as-a-service (ITaaS).

Unlike other as-a-service models, ITaaS is not cloud based, although the concept can be applied to cloud environments. Rather, the focus is about shifting IT operations toward managed services on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go basis.

 IT With Benefits

ITaaS looks different for every business because it’s based on both business and IT consumption needs. But there are over-arching benefits:

Scalability. ITaaS enables companies to provision and pay for only the IT capacity needed in the on-premises data center — and adapt if requirements or demand fluctuates. For example, ITaaS can manage cloud bursting when compute capacity spikes, or provision storage or containers-as-a-service during app development stages.

Transparency. Using a consumption-based IT model gives managers and executives greater insight into where, when, and how IT services are used. In addition, ITaaS provides transparency into asset performance, as well as improved financial clarity into IT resource consumption.

Expertise. It’s a given that there’s an ongoing IT skills shortage. However, it’s quickly becoming a business risk factor, according to Gartner. ITaaS providers have industry expertise and technical knowledge to support IT organizations where need is greatest — such as time-consuming software updates and patching. 

Simplicity. IT teams typically spend inordinate amounts of time on mundane tasks and solving operability problems, especially in increasingly complex infrastructure environments that mix public and private clouds. Together with an ITaaS provider, companies can discuss where capacity concerns are the greatest, then shift those workloads or services to a consumption-based model. This simplifies IT management, while freeing personnel from time-burdensome routines.

Cost savings. The pay-as-you-use-IT model inevitably results in companies only paying for actual consumption1, rather than overspending on estimated requirements. Yet there are also ITaaS savings in the long run, such as those gained from improved capacity planning, use of existing resources, and equipment maintenance.

Improved IT Consumption from HPE GreenLake

As companies increasingly adopt hybrid cloud, IT is required to manage more complex IT environments — often with already stretched-thin staffing and resources.

HPE GreenLake enables companies to simplify their IT environments, pay only for the resources they actually use, while providing the business with the speed it requires to keep up with new market demands.

Learn more at hpe.com/greenlake.

1 Minimum commitment may apply

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.



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