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The hows, whys and benefits of employee-choice programs

New employees choosing their own hardware or existing employees given options when they’re due for a refresh may sound unrealistic, disruptive and costly. While there is a lot to consider, in my experience, we’re finding the exact opposite is true as more organizations explore and implement choose your own device (CYOD) or employee-choice programs. As someone who works with larger organizations on a daily basis, the desire to offer CYOD is there. It’s the how do I implement CYOD and what to consider from security, cost and implementation standpoints that can leave CIO, IT managers and admins scratching their heads. What I can tell you is, this can be done — and done well.

How did CYOD become ‘a thing’?

IBM’s Mac@Work Program was launched in 2015 and started a technology renaissance for their organization. This choice concept has had a butterfly effect for other areas of their organization in the best way: HR retaining or attracting top talent, finance seeing fiscally responsible impacts, security enhancements, happier employees, and so on.

How choice at IBM came to be

In 2015, IBM was due for a technology refresh. Fletcher Previn, IBM’s now CIO, led this charge. In preparation for the refresh, they began seeing a push for Apple technology from their employees — something you may be able to relate to. With a large refresh, and a growing demand for Apple hardware, they were open to letting employees choose to work with the technology that made them happy and most productive.

When they polled their employees to get a reality check of “who really wanted Apple hardware” they found an astonishing 73 percent of their employees would prefer a Mac over a PC for their next device. This stands close to the overall industry trend. A recent study showed that three out of four employees (75 percent) would prefer to have an Apple device for their next work device.

CYOD benefits for IBM

IBM connected with Apple and Jamf to determine how to execute their plan and overcome obstacles in the form of: stringent security needs, employees not exactly thrilled with IT, and substantial hardware rollouts without disrupting production.

Fast-forward to 2016, IBM surveyed their employees and saw a 10 point increase in satisfaction from 2015 to 2016 due to IBM offering “Better tools” — aka Mac. By October 2016, Previn provided an update at the Jamf Nation User Conference to say IBM had deployed over 100,000 Macs; making them the world’s largest Mac deployment. If we think about that, it breaks down to about 1,900 Macs a week being deployed to their employees globally, while maintaining security standards and helping their employees be happier.

IBM’s choice initiative also allowed HR to help retain and attract top talent. It can be expensive to lose or onboard an employee. When scouting and letting prospective employees know they’ll have the ability to choose their own hardware, it’s certainly an enticing perk.

Overall, IBM claims to save between $273 to $543 per Mac they purchase over a comparable PC. This is based on a 4-year total cost of ownership (TCO) model in software savings by leveraging native OS software (such as Gatekeeper and FileVault 2) and a reduction in IT tickets. The IBM model demonstrates that after the initial cost, Apple purchases prove to be less expensive, sustainable and more successful in the long-run.

However, IBM didn’t simply look at this as a way to save money or even as an IT project. They wanted to change the culture of IBM. As Previn puts it, "IT is an extension of the culture we want to have at IBM. We thought of this as a culture program and less as an IT program.”

And it’s not just IBM reaping the rewards of Apple choice. Other fortune 500 companies have followed in their footsteps, including SAP, Capital One and Walmart. Capital One CIO, Robert Alexander, states, “We let employees choose what they use and overwhelmingly they choose Apple products. It enables them to be more productive, and work the way that they want to work.”

Now, there’s a lot to consider when implementing CYOD. Aside from refreshing existing hardware, there are a few other priorities you should look to address in the process: reducing help desk tickets to a more manageable number, be cost efficient, and most importantly, change the culture of your organization for the better.

Where to begin with CYOD

You may be thinking, “It’d be nice to do this, but this is unrealistic. What about security standards? We have this figured out on the PCs; doing this on the Macs sounds nearly impossible.”

Jamf and Apple answer the bell and help by offering more streamlined deployment options that eliminate the need for IT to physically touch the device — automating enrollment through Apple’s deployment solutions.

Benefits of CYOD

There are four categories of folks, in our experience, that truly benefit from employee choice:

  1. Employees
  2. IT
  3. HR
  4. Finance

Employees: This is an easy one. They not only get to use the technology they want, but they’re happier, more productive and less likely to call for help on a device they are familiar with.

IT: When you have the right tools to support the employee’s preferred hardware, IT can resolve issues faster, automate key tasks, ensure devices are compliant, better secure and set up properly right out of the box.

HR: When we look at the overall landscape, employee-choice programs are bringing the HR and IT worlds together. Fortune reported that 87 percent of organizations said retaining talent is critical to their organization, and technology choice programs have proven key to satisfying employees. IBM discovered that offering the right tools to employees not only made them happier with their job, but helped the company attract and retain talent. HR Dive reported that on average, it costs upwards of $15,000 to replace each employee that leaves. Keeping folks around is a substantial way to save money.

Finance: Speaking of money, not only can CFOs and Finance teams benefit from an HR standpoint in cost savings, but so can budget-conscious IT staffs looking to deploy Apple hardware and Jamf. Often times, the concern is: “Apple costs more, Jamf has a cost,” and finance sees money being hemorrhaged. But as we saw with IBM, the TCO over time proved that a model of Jamf and Apple together saves money.

What to do and how Jamf can help:

Poll your employees: You may be surprised with how many will want Apple. So many are using these devices at home, it’s only natural to want to have Apple professionally. When companies ask what kind of hardware their employees want, an average of 75 percent say Apple.

Ask questions: How do we roll this out? What does the cost look like? How do we make this secure? What are we missing? Who can help us with this?

We are here to help you

When you are using tools that support a specific platform, you basically have a Swiss Army Knife to let you do what you need to do, when you need to do it. This means when IT has the right tools in the tool box, they can resolve problems faster and get people what they need faster.

Jamf Pro is the right tool (your Swiss Army Knife) for the job and the one trusted by those looking to implement choice. Made specifically for the Apple platform, Jamf Pro helps you create a seamless experience for the end users and integrates with Apple services and features to eliminate the need of adding costly third-party software.

Modern devices and initiatives require modern, purpose-built tools. So whether you’re looking to deploy and manage 5 or 100,000 Apple devices, we have a proven formula to ensure your success. But don’t just take our word for it or the testimonial of IBM. Do your own homework and tell us what you think.

Request a free trial to take Jamf Pro for a spin or reach out to us for any lingering questions or concerns. Again, we’re here to help you accomplish your goals.