What’s significant for MSPs and IT admins about the date October 23, 2001?
Some would say it’s the date Apple started its roll into the business arena. The release of the first iPod may not have seemed much at first glance, but Apple’s move into the music business was a big thing.
While the sleek new device was originally a Mac-only device, Apple did two things early on that would turn out to be game changing for IT guys everywhere. First they made the iPod itself compatible with Windows. Then they made the iTunes music store Windows compatible.
Suddenly Apple wasn’t in its comfortable 5%-of-the-market bubble, it was in the global market and potentially plugged into every computer on the planet. It was at this point we started to see what we call the “iPod Halo Effect”. People looked at their iPods and said, “Hey, this is a really elegant device. I hate my Windows box. I wonder if Macs are as good as the iPod?”
Similarly, in 2007, when the first iPhones hit, people said, “Hey this is way better than my Blackberry/Palm Trio etc. I wonder if Macs are as good?”
The arrival of the iPad in 2010 took things to another level for IT departments everywhere. Suddenly CEOs were coming and saying “make this work with our exchange server” or “make my Outlook calendar work on this.” They weren’t interested in the technology they just wanted their new device to work with their business systems. And that’s what they paid IT to do.
Early on we saw a lot of thin client solutions like Remote Desktop or Citrix. Then Apple got on the ball and realised that a great way to sell more units was to make the iPad more compatible. So they licensed Exchange Client from Microsoft and enabled the iPad to function really well with Exchange Server.
This is what ultimately led to the consumerization of IT. All of a sudden employees were dictating to IT what devices they wanted to use, and if they didn’t agree they were just just going off and doing things for themselves.
So how does understanding this help you get a leg up with clients? In short, if the CEO loves his iPad then you’ll need to support it.
I like to tell this short story to illustrate what I mean here: 10-15 years ago I went into a Subway to get a sandwich. At the time I was wearing an Apple t-shirt. When the kid behind the counter saw the t-shirt he said, “Euw, you like Mac?” To which my response was was: “Yeah do you have a problem with that?” A terrified look crossed his face as he released he wasn’t in the schoolyard, and had just alienated a customer. His manager wasn’t going to like that.
It’s the same for MSPs. If you go to your customer and say, “Apple? They suck,” or even something more political but equally as negative, the message comes across that you think it’s a lesser platform and you don’t like it. If the CEO loves the platform and has an iPad and Macs at home, then you’ll get fired. It’s that simple.
Even if you don’t believe that Mac IT support can improve your bottom line and reduce your risk surface, don’t go shooting your mouth off about not liking the platform, because you’re going to lose business over it. It’s time to let that attitude go.
Marginalisation of Macs can have a really negative effect. Mac guys tend to be passionate about their platform, do them down and all of a sudden you don’t have a great rapport. I’ve learned over the years to let things like that go, but a lot of Apple people get really irritated.
Think of the difference if you say, “Mac IT support? Yeah we can handle that.” All of sudden you’re a buddy. You’re a good guy. And that’s always good for business.