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Apple Users Need Less Help Than PC Users, IBM Finds

Apple Users Need Less Help Than PC Users, IBM Finds

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, October 19 6:00

Businesses no longer invest hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on full-time desktop support staff. Employees are expected to have the tech knowledge necessary to handle even the most complicated software maneuvers. In addition to hiring tech-savvy professionals, business owners are increasingly choosing to outsource desktop support to third-party providers who charge by the call.

But even the most proficient computer users will have difficulty resolving computer issues. When a computer problem is so complex, even a Google search can t unearth a fix, a worker s productivity will completely stall. As workplaces have upgraded to the new Windows 10 and experienced all of its well-known problems, they ve begun to realize that Microsoft-based devices might not be the best option for businesses that don t have a full tech support team.

IBM s Experiment

As a technology company, IBM knows all too well the expense that can come with various technology-based choices. When it came time to upgrade new equipment, the company realized the extra cost associated with purchasing MacBook laptops over their Windows-based counterparts. With hundreds of thousands of devices at play, IBM knew this would be a significant difference in cost.

Before it made a choice, however, IBM paused to conduct an experiment. The company offered workers the option of using Macs at work earlier this year and made some interesting observations. In just a few months, some patterns emerged. The most notable was that while 40 percent of PC users called into the company s internal help desk for help, only five percent of Mac users called in.

Help Desk Savings

After its brief experiment, IBM compared the numbers and realized that the reduction in calls to the help desk would justify the additional per-device extra charge. Windows-based laptops can now be purchased in the $500 range, whereas a MacBook Pro tops $1,000. However, for a variety of reasons, Macs tend to outlast PCs. While PCs are slowing down due to years of software updates, Macs show minimal slowdown after four or five years of use, leading to a longer replacement cycle.

As IBM showed, Macs also have fewer calls for help. For businesses that have tech workers on staff, this means they can spend less time troubleshooting errors and installing updates and more time supporting processes that can grow your business. You could have them testing new software that could improve productivity, for instance, or supporting your leadership team as they make important decisions about outsourcing technology processes. For many other businesses, however, a reduced number of help desk calls means they can either gradually reduce their tech teams or decrease the funds they re spending on third-party support services.

As businesses are weighing the cost against the benefits of having Macs instead of PCs, IBM s experiment might be one to consider. Considering the fact that IBM worked with Microsoft on its first IBM PCs, the switch to Apple says quite a bit about the many troubles PC users often experience. Businesses have long resisted the switch to Macs out of fear that they would be more difficult to support due to a need to retrain help desk workers, but this experiment reveals that the retraining may be worth it.

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