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Converting a Windows-only Business to Apple

As more businesses turn to Apple as viable tool in the workplace, Gerard Allen, Chief Technologist with iConnect, ponders why few are willing to make the leap to Mac-only endpoints. This was the topic in today's JAMF Nation User Conference (JNUC) as Allen explained how he converted the entire office from Windows to Mac at the Almana Group, one of Qatar’s oldest and largest business entities, encompassing a portfolio that includes several international acclaimed brands. 

He walked the session attendees through the buy-in process needed from all stakeholders and took us on a journey from proof of concept to implementation to ongoing support when bringing in Apple. 

Almana began this project with a Windows-only office with Blackberry, and the end goal was to have Apple-only endpoints for all users.

Allen started off with a vision planning session with Almana to understand the logic involved in the decision to switch. The most important factors were the advanced security features of OS X, total cost of ownership, device lifecycle, and user experience for their employees.

The next step was to build out a proof of concept, “otherwise known as winning over IT.” Almana was given two MacBook Pros, to get hands-on experience to use as personal devices — as each user fell in love with the Apple platform, they passed the MacBook Pros on to other staff members, on a weekly rotation, with the aim of breaking down barriers and getting users to become comfortable with using a Mac.

Once they were confident, Allen deployed 36 Macs to a selection of users from a variety of departments. The task next was to keep up the education program for the users. 

“People fear change, make it a positive experience,”he said. So don’t forget the basics! And remember to keep the training at their pace, so everybody in the office is on the same path together.

Post-install, the IT team at Almana have been building on the basics, building out a Self Service portal, with quick links to some of the organization’s internal sites — a go-to place for everything.

One of the most surprising results to come from this project (for the Almana IT team, who were previously Windows-only admins) was the amount of time they now had to drink coffee — having Macs has drastically reduced the number of support tickets they see every day. There’s a lot of happy users.

The next stage for this project will be to roll it out an additional 1,200 devices, and extend it to iOS. Allen believes that this approach means this project is easily scalable, and can be replicated in other organizations.