IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

What Windows 7 EOL Means for Apple Implementation

It may be a good time to consider a path into the Mac ecosystem. By Josh Jagdfeld

Now that Windows 7 has officially reached end-of-life status, the time has come for IT teams and business owners still using the old OS to decide what their next generation of hardware looks like, and how they can best meet the needs of an ever-changing workforce.

Historically, this decision would have been an automatic refresh to the newest Windows-compatible hardware. Today, this choice is not as simple, particularly at a time when more and more organizations are focused on attracting and retaining the very best talent, and when 3 in 4 employees, if given a choice, would choose to use a Mac for work. Thankfully, we live in a time where the Apple ecosystem is abundant, the tools necessary to support the ecosystem are mature, and the wealth of organizations that can help onboard companies into this new user-first IT mentality are well prepared for the task.

While employee preference for technology is quite clear, there may be a learning curve for channel pros to understand Apple device deployment tools and workflows. Many companies are used to the tools and workflows required to support and integrate Windows PCs, but with macOS those same requirements are often implemented in very different ways and with a much different user-experience-focused manner. 

Unlike a decade ago, however, there is now a wide range of resellers, managed service providers, and consultants in the Apple ecosystem with implementation experience and the necessary skill set. From simple custom consulting arrangements for smaller organizations to full “device as a service” offerings that package up financing, hardware, provisioning, deployment, and ongoing management for larger organizations, there is a path into the Apple ecosystem for every kind of organization. 

Moreover, Apple devices now work better than ever with the Microsoft ecosystem of products and services, so the transition can be extremely familiar and frictionless. 

Here are a few key points to take into account when making a switch from PCs to Mac devices:

  • Consider the long-term pricing impact of choosing Macs. Research such as IBM’s Mac and PC deployments report and the Total Economic Impact of Mac study by Forrester provide evidence that Mac devices can save an organization money on hardware, software, and support services across their lifecycle.
  • Engage your HR team or consider your employee experience when planning a migration. With automated provisioning through Apple Business Manager’s enrollment tool, a customized setup experience with Setup Assistant enrollment customization, and a self-service user model, you can empower your users to be part of their IT process and build a sense of ownership around their technology.
  • Recognize that security is as important as ever. While the Mac is one of the most secure computing platforms available, many security teams have very specific criteria for what an acceptable amount of risk looks like. It’s paramount to have a strategy in place to test operating systems for compatibility with your environment before users upgrade to new releases. Thankfully, because Apple users tend to upgrade quickly, the majority of devices will be running the most up-to-date and most secure releases all the time.

Now, more than ever, organizations have to compete for talent, and it makes sense to offer technology that meets the expectations of this new workforce. Rather than going on autopilot for another Windows refresh cycle, perhaps it’s time to think differently and consider how a broader ecosystem-based approach might benefit your organization, and ultimately your employees—now and in the future.

JOSH JAGDFELD is director of partner and solution marketing at Jamf, provider of Apple device management solutions.
 

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