I recently joined an IT vendor channel chief's team meeting on a speaking engagement to review trends in the IT distribution channel. During the course of that meeting, I was surprised to notice the channel chief sporting a beautiful, new Apple MacBook Air from which our slides were projected and from which business was conducted following the meeting.
I took the opportunity to ask about his experience in transitioning from an IBM-compatible,Wintel laptop. He indicated his company supported a liberal bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy that included an allocation for the employee to buy an employee-owned laptop of their choice, to be used for business purposes.
I later spoke at a different client event. The client's business is primarily built on the telco-cableco indirect channel ecosystem, but is moving to incorporate IT resellers as cloud services have been added to their mission.While there, I noticed every employee had been issued an Apple MacBook Air.
Lastly, I was fortunate enough to respond to a call for IT channel strategy assistance from one of my former bosses. Housed in a trendy San Francisco office building with a view to PacBell Park, we sat in his office reviewing current strategy material. He handed me his company-owned MacBook Air and asked me, "Do you know how to operate a Mac?"
I was slightly taken aback by his question; having owned a MacBook for personal use for many years, I wondered, "What's to learn?" But let's be honest; personal use in my household translated to iPhoto and iTunes, period.
I reflected on the many solution providers IPED has interviewed regarding their need to support consumer devices for customers, and the new skills and offerings each had to incorporate into their business models in order to not only survive, but thrive.
Not nearly as significant, let me share with you a little about my own evolution. I was hired into IBM straight out of college, and I have carried an IBM-Wintel bias my entire professional career. That said, the move to an Apple laptop was a natural move for me one day when I had an issue connecting the overhead projector to my company-owned, IBM-compatible laptop. My client commented easily, "Maybe it's time for a new laptop!"
I took that as my cue, marched into the Apple store and bought my own device. I will spare you the intricate details of migration to a MacBook Air except to say I learned a few things. First, AppleCare was the best purchase I made beyond the MacBook Air. After that, the Apple Retail Store is a fairly festive place complete with customers' dogs! The Apple Retail Store, previously valued as a source of instant personal gratification, became a critical source of professional education and learning, neither of which was available in the workplace and, therefore, highly valued.
I was vaguely aware that Apple had staffed the Business Team resident within the Apple Store to assist in the migration from a Wintel to a Mac OS environment. I was offered an Apple business overview to highlight the Apple software product line that would eliminate the need for me to spend more on Microsoft products. "Uh, no thanks!" I said, as I clutched the box of Microsoft Office for Mac with Outlook to my chest, a sure source of comfort.
I am happy to say I got through my first big business meeting with only one minor, self-inflicted glitch. I left that meeting with the confidence to complete my laptop migration to the Mac, making my next trip without lugging my Wintel machine as a backup. I doubt I'll look back!
BACKTALK: Contact SVP, IPED MarketBridge Alliance Rauline Ochs via e-mail at email@example.com.