If you’re a business professional and an Apple fan you may not be too thrilled about their direction in business computing. The new MacBook Pro was released earlier this month and has been deemed the “least repairable laptop” on the market and functionally non-upgradable by iFixIt.org, perhaps diminishing its appeal to business-folk on the go.
Anyone with experience in computing knows a few simple truths: technology tends to malfunction when you expect it the least, and accidents easily happen that can ruin your tech. For personal use, this can be an unfortunate event. For business use, it can be a professional disaster.
To much of the business world it’s an inherent fact: we want the future of tech in our hands today. Equally many of you question the ROI for any hardware acquisition. There is, however, a way to appease both the techies and the number crunchers and it’s called a “hardware strategy.” Think of the hardware strategy as a style guide meets a business plan. Identifying hardware conventions, planning for expansion, and anticipating the evolution of technology, the hardware strategy will likely save your company a ton of money and a ton of headaches. Oh, and that new MacBook that everyone wants? You’ll know immediately if it’s in the cards or not.
Jon Sanders, Director of Technology at Valparaiso University School of Law, acknowledges the various benefits to developing a hardware strategy for businesses and tech departments. He says that having one allows for hardware management to be a part of the long-term plan for technology, allows for more accurate accounting and tracking of finances, and thus better cash flow management. When thinking in these terms, investing in the least fixable computer on the market just doesn’t seem worth it.
On top of that, a hardware strategy provides the users of the tech with a solid foundation for upgrading their existing computers with a “how and when” structure. That last part is important, especially if you’re dealing with those individuals around the office demanding the new MacBook.
“Having a strategy allows users to know the IT department isn't playing favorites with new equipment--barring extenuating circumstances, old equipment will be replaced when the plan says it is time,” says Sanders.
Many businesses have an IT department in place with a ton of active hardware, but IT departments are often overwhelmed with projects and are all-too-eager to please their tech users’ demands. “I want an Apple” may receive some pushback from IT for usability, but many eventually cave to the pressure. People can be quite persuasive when they want something, especially something as visually stunning as the new MacBook. Yet, when you spend a significant amount of money on a product you expect a high ROI, and while Apple’s new laptop may be stunning to look at and has some fancy specs it has a very low return. The fact that it’s the least repairable laptop on the market makes it not worth the money, let alone the ability to equip it with the latest hardware.
“Hard to repair/upgrade is a definite negative, but it’s one part of the entire value proposition. Cool and flashy is a positive for some people. Monetarily, this can only have a negative impact,” he says. “Downtime can be a serious consideration… and a computer that is difficult to repair represents a risk of greater downtime.”
We all know the saying: time is money. The longer an employee is unable to access their work, the less productive the employee is and the more money it costs their employer. So for those of you who may be bugging your IT department for the latest and greatest MacBook Pro? I wouldn’t hold your breath---businesses and tech departments will more than likely be hesitant to add this to their strategy any time soon, if only to keep you working longer. So, sorry folks: You’re just going to have to wait or buy your own for personal use. Something like this may be more suitable in a BYOD environment, if you can afford the steep price tag.
The MacBook Pro seems to target business professionals both in capabilities and in pricing---it has a beautiful Retina Display, a screamingly fast processor, a surprisingly long battery life and carries a hefty $2,200 asking price. And it even has the word “pro” in the name! But in the end, this laptop lacks the necessary reparability and upgradability that businesses and business professionals need to run a business.
It goes without saying that many companies may be tempted to throw these computers at their employees’ faces, but developing an effective hardware strategy for your business will allow for a more efficient, productive, and cost-effective workforce. Well, as long as that strategy doesn’t involve the new MacBook Pro.