I’ve been working with Apple customers over the past several years, specifically the front line employees that account for so much of a company’s workload, I was always astounded at the number of them that told me that their company would not allow them or, at the very least didn’t support, Apple computers. Apple’s share of the worldwide computing market continues to grow and they’ve grown to be the third largest provider of personal computers in the United States. So why has it taken so many companies so long to come aboard? The arguments vary.

You can’t do real work on an Apple computer. Oh, really? Both Microsoft and Apple make full functioning office suites including spreadsheets, word processors and presentation software. In fact, one of the main accolades given to Microsoft in regards to their most recent launch of Office is the fact that they’ve used the same basic interface and theme that iWork has used for their last 2 iterations. And Apple has been the weapon of choice for graphic designers and film professionals for the past decade at least. So, we’ve eliminated productivity as the deterrent to making the switch to Apple. What’s the next fallacy?

Apple computers are way too expensive, much more than PCs. This one is at least rooted in truth. Yes, it is true that if you walk into a store that sells both Mac and PC, you’re going to pay more at the till for the Mac than for the PC, but there are two other issues at work here that you have to take into account. First off, add the cost of anti-virus software to your bottom line. Now add that cost every single year for the life of your computer. Also, the company you bought your computer from is going to offer that you have them install the software you bought and set up all your preferences. If you bought a Mac, it’s as simple as plugging in the computer and putting in the disk, but on a PC you might want to have them do that for you. The point is that there are hidden costs beyond the box for your PC that are not as common on a Mac. But that’s not even the most important issue. The more important issue has to do with paying for quality.

There are some good PC companies, but unfortunately they make PCs. The fact of the matter is that when you purchase a Mac you’re paying for quality. Failure rates for Apple computers still sit well below the failure rates for similar models in the PC world. So, yes, you might pay more at the till, but that system can be expected to last longer and have fewer problems than a similar model PC. If you spend more on a product, you expect a higher quality system and with Apple computers, you get that. So the cost may not be as high as you think, and if it is a little higher, there’s a pretty good reason. But let’s not forget the hidden costs.

Do you work in a PC environment at your job, or have you in the past? Do you even know the name of your IT person? Chances are that one of the reasons you don’t is that there were too many IT staffers to count or remember. Nothing excites IT staff quite as much as the realization that their system is going to break. Networks failing, systems malfunctioning, software not operating as expected? Great. That means someone is getting paid to fix it, for now anyways. Companies that run a Mac environment have significantly lower IT costs. And this is where the real challenge is.

Remember that IT staff member that gets paid and has job security because they know that there is going to be a lot of work for them down the road? Well, here’s the kicker. That same staff member, in a lot of company structures, is the same staff member responsible for…… (drumroll please)…. determining what the company is going to use as a platform. It’s like asking the defendant in a criminal proceeding to also be the judge. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the desire to survive will come through in the recommendations put forth by that individual. Maybe it’s not as villainous as that. Maybe it’s just a matter of being trained on one type of technology and not being comfortable with another, but there’s absolutely no incentive for someone who is in that position to recommend themselves out of a job.

So why now? Well, earlier we talked about frontline employees and the fact that no one listened to them when they recommended Apple solutions. Well, they’re no longer the only ones using them. The advent and propagation of iPads means that the boss has one now, and when the boss wants their corporate email to work on the iPad, IT makes it happen. When the boss wants to be able to access the company intranet on their iPhone, IT makes it happen. IT departments need to see the trend and respond. Make the necessary adjustments now, realize that you can improve productivity by making the switch and recommend an Apple system. Will you be out of a job? No. You’ll have the time to really work on the network instead of fixing email issues. You’ll be able to implement better, more intuitive, file sharing options instead of trying to figure out how to get the printer to work on all the computers. The point is that IT professionals have a fear of that which they don’t understand. The solution is not to put your head in the sand and hope it all passes you by. iPads are here to stay. Instead of ignoring them, create proactive solutions. When the boss decides they need iPads on the network, and you don’t know how to do it, they’ll find someone who can.