PCs and Macs: Cohabiting in Small Business
There was a time when industry events included PCs of every description and every imaginable brand. Business was Microsoft’s domain, and unless it was accompanied by the occasional “artsy” type, Macs were nowhere to be found.
Little by little, that began to change. These days, I’m not sure that I would estimate it as an even split, but certainly there are plenty of Macs being used by business people of all persuasion. Some people believe that Macs are just easier to work with. Others say the business applications have come a long way, so there is no need to use a PC if they don’t want to.
As for myself, I pretty much cut my teeth on PCs and, other than iTunes and iPhones, I’ve never done a whole lot with the Mac platform.
Recently, at a business dinner in Chicago, my guest told me he had just migrated over to Apple. Since I’ve been curious about one day doing the same thing, I asked him how the transition went.
He talked about how smooth it was. I asked about the applications. He challenged me to name any PC-based business app, and he would counter with the corresponding Mac app. This went on for several rounds. I eventually scored by delving into obscurity, but it was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
The bottom line is this: If the people at your company use laptops or notebooks, you’ve either seen the Apple logo come floating through the door, or it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
No need to fear. PCs and Macs can coexist fairly peacefully, and there are plenty of people out there who know how to support them. One of the emerging developments in this area involves channel alliances with Mac specialists, some of whom were raised in the retail setting of the “Mac genius.” These people were schooled by Apple to provide support in the stores, and sometimes extend their reach on either a fulltime or freelance basis. So in many cases, your channel partner might have someone on their staff that knows how to deal with mixed environments. And if they don’t, there’s probably someone they can call.
When you see the Macs begin to show up, it makes sense to ask your team members how they intend to use them, why they prefer the Mac to the PC, and similar questions pertinent to the new arrival. Be careful how you do this. You’d prefer that they not feel like they have something to hide or apologize for. And very often, those with a preference can be highly valuable in helping you to assess potential issues and benefits.
Next, talk to your channel partner and your support team. Are they capable of supporting Macs? If not, why not? And what do they see as the pros and cons.
The times are changing in many respects. And with those changes comes shifts in technology preferences, especially as IT becomes increasingly device-based, as opposed to seat-based. Your company can make the transition, too.