Enterprise IT has spent the last 30 years perfecting the art of supporting Windows-based devices. As a result, there are numerous labor saving and cost saving processes in place to keep Windows applications and environments updated, secure, reliable and available. Windows users have established processes to follow when they run into an IT support issue - even though the support is often by way of clunky internal websites with links to support documents that translate to hundreds of pages explaining how to use a Windows application. This is in sharp contrast to what has been happening to Mac users. As macOS devices gained traction in the enterprise, something interesting occurred. Mac users were left to resolve their own IT problems with very little support from IT. Fortunately, macOS devices rarely encounter problems and users have, over a period of time, learnt to support their own needs. In fact, this became a key driver some years ago for Cisco to allow employees to bring their own Mac to work[i]. Today, Mac is becoming the preferred device of choice in the workplace: GE announced at the end of 2017 that it would promote Mac as the desktop of choice among its 330,000 employees; Concentrix has more than 18,000; Oath owned by Verizon has more than 15,000; and SAP has more than 14,000[ii]. Despite the trend, enterprise IT continues to lag in terms of providing support to Mac users.
Mac users have become accustomed to interacting with a Windows focused IT department. The service desk – more often than not – tells them “we don’t support Mac.” Alternatively, an IT support person who has never used macOS, tries to troubleshoot the issue. Rather than endure this type of experience, Mac users have adapted by researching solutions to their own IT issues on user support pages and forums. However, this does not mean that enterprise IT should abandon Mac users. To ensure the right solutions are deployed and to minimize the impact on user productivity, IT departments should embrace the user behavioral shift by providing more self-service tools that are curated to meet the needs of users and the enterprise.
There are three areas where self-service can be enhanced for Mac users:
Great content: Mac users have embraced self-service but they don’t want to plod through extensive FAQs and thick manuals. What they want is short, easy-to-digest content that is more in keeping with trends from their personal experience (e.g., Instagram and YouTube). This means providing access to short videos – 30 to 60 seconds – which show users how to quickly solve a problem or learn a new shortcut. Video content covers many topics; for example how to index the hard drive with Spotlight, how to use built-in diagnostic tools, disabling features, creating pivot table in Excel for Mac, etc. The goal should be to give the users access to great content which shows them how to perform a task or solve a problem.
User communities: Every organization has power users and tech experts who can be tapped for support. These highly knowledgeable people are not necessarily found in the IT team. They could be anywhere within the organization. A well-informed user for Excel or Numbers could be in the accounting department. The best resource for Adobe Photoshop could be in marketing. Every enterprise needs an efficient platform like Slack, Yammer, SharePoint or Google Hangout to make these experts available to the rest of the enterprise. Such experts are a great source of institutional expertise and a great source for feedback on Apple deployments within the enterprise.
Application self-service: In the world of Windows, application updates are driven by IT-determined schedules. Employees have little or no choice when their systems are locked down for an update. However, this need not be the case for Mac users. MacOS and iOS users are accustomed to updating their own devices. Because the hardware and software have been developed together, there are less issues with application and OS updates. Users can be notified of available updates and can be given control of when to update their applications. This self-service mode also makes it possible to install and delete applications as required, thereby ensuring licenses are used appropriately.
Mac usage in the workplace continues to be on the rise; enterprise support options for end-users must keep pace. Mac users have led a paradigm shift in what is required from IT for support. A good IT support experience is not judged by how quickly someone answers an IT service desk call. A good support experience begins with access to great self-service tools and a community of experts helping each other.
By providing choice, IT empowers the user to share responsibility in solving their IT issues . A win-win for IT and the user.