Mac in a Windows world: Support strategies for success
With administrative support already in place for Windows users, what should an organization do to ensure the same support can be offered to Mac users when considering adding the platform to their tech stack?
This post contains content for We Got Your Mac podcast, presented by SHI.
Addressing concerns from all departments early on is crucial. Regardless of the need for new or different tools, creating buy-in through understanding is key.
Working with a wide variety of companies and business environments, Tom Rice, Manager of Apple Solutions Engineering at SHI, found his passion for the Mac platform early in his IT career. Now, he serves a multitude of hybrid-platform, Windows-dominant organizations by supporting their Mac requirements.
He emphasizes the importance of building a close culture of understanding across departments, addressing support concerns at the beginning of the process and more.
The origin of the ask: different conversations for different roles
Tom engages with a wide variety of individuals from a variety of roles when discussing the adoption of the Mac platform.
Some knowledge workers approach him before discussing the opportunity with leadership. They aim to thoroughly understand the benefits and challenges of adopting the Mac platform in a Windows-centric environment before they take the plunge and put the idea on the company table.
Other times, it is the company’s IT team wanting to understand the upskilling needed to adopt the platform. It may even be-
With each role, the conversation differs. The benefits and costs that matter to decision makers likely would not hit home with knowledge workers and vice versa.
Yet, often the primary concern is often the same: what structural changes need to be made for Mac integration? And the answer is often the same: very little will need to be changed, as both platforms are fundamentally the same.
Convincing leaders that Mac is fundamentally the same as Windows
The biggest barrier that faces buy-in for Mac adoption is changing the thought process of people who are not familiar with Macs. Developing the understanding that there is rarely need for fundamental changes to be made is crucial. Both platforms utilize the same technology, and the reality is that, by adopting Mac, an organizations essentially just adding a new device to their technology ecosystem.
“The biggest hurdle is ensuring the company understands they are not fundamentally changing anything. They are bringing on a new device in the same way you would switch from a Mazda to a Toyota,” Tom says.
There is no need to build a new road for each brand of car. Adopting the Mac platform, even in a hybrid environment, does not require an entirely new tech support system, either.
Building cross-departmental relationships and understanding their concerns
“Some of the best chats I have had and the best way I have gotten people to work further on a project to understand the Mac point of view is having chats outside the office.”
“Information technology does not operate in a vacuum. However, to a point, IT is segmented within different roles,” Tom says. “You have your networking teams, your security teams, your people who are responsible for selecting applications. Many of those people have their own fundamental ideas about how their particular technology should work.”
Building an understanding across departments begins with forming a strong relationship with them. Creating a bond with different teams means that you will understand their needs and concerns and be able to address quickly and effectively.
Whether the concerns center around the operability of a security system, file sharing ability across different platforms or something else entirely, understanding and addressing those concerns intentionally is key to success with Mac adoption.
“Some of the best chats I have had and the best way I have gotten people to work further on a project to understand the Mac point of view is having chats outside the office,” Tom says.
Diversified technology stacks and hesitancy toward commitment
When a team of Windows-centric administrators is asked to integrate Mac (or even offer support for Mac), there is an overhead to address. Whether it is investment in infrastructure or understanding different workflows, the request comes with a big commitment for administrators. Whether they are already comfortable with the Mac platform or have never touched an Apple product before, they will likely still need support for a successful adoption process.
Recommended resources for skillset expansion
When a team is asked to suddenly expand their skill set, they will need resources and support to do so. There are many resources available for the process, and Tom recommends taking advantage of them. These include:
- Apple Support. While Apple offers a breadth of knowledge, support articles are dry and not very engaging.
- The Mac Admins Slack Community. With over 50,000 community members and counting, the Mac Admin Slack Community is a forum for everyone at every stage of Mac deployment. From organizations that are operating completely on the Mac platform to hybrid-platform environments to those that are still completely Windows-centric and considering a Mac rollout, this is the spot to find support with day-to-day dilemmas from real people who have experienced the same things.
- Always happy to discuss the usefulness of their product, talking with vendors is another great resource for support.
Tom assures us that no problem is unique. “If you encounter a problem, you are not likely to be the first to see it. Others have experienced it, and they are willing to share advice on the solution,” he says.
Support is first, not the afterthought
One of the most important elements of a successful Mac adoption is building a support system before deployment.
That tech support system will look different for each company. Some will choose to add in-person staff support by onboarding an experienced Mac IT professional or upskilling existing personnel.
Others will opt for outsourcing. In remote environments, outsourcing support could be extremely beneficial, as support providers will offer 24/7 assistance for employees in different time zones.
The key is to ensure Mac users within the organization receive the support they need, when they need it, just like all your other users.
Interested in learning more? In our conversation with Tom, we discuss hybrid-platform environments, creating buy-in from the entire organization, support options for administration and end users and more. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.