Finding top staff is only half the battle

Retaining talent is now a case of extremely fine margins, writes Quinton O’Reilly

15th September, 2019
John J Murphy, head of commercial strategy at Arkphire

With a skills shortage in areas like security and IT, businesses now have to do more to set themselves apart from the competition.

As the power dynamic shifts, the level of choice you can offer your staff can make a world of difference. More people want to work using Apple devices, be it Macs or iPhones, yet with the IT world using Windows as the standard for clients, integrating this is easier said than done.

Integrating Mac and iOS services into this already-defined ecosystem is the challenge. For John J Murphy, head of commercial strategy at Arkphire, it’s something that businesses are facing more and more often.

“We have a number of large customers who have told us explicitly: ‘I will not allow Mac in here because I cannot manage it properly’,” he said.

“But then they get certain departments coming to them, saying: ‘We want to hire this person, they are demanding a Mac as part of their package.’ So it’s just as much a HR issue as it is an IT issue.”

The ability to not just attract but retain talent in your company is crucial and with the average duration of employment being 2.1 years, getting new recruits to hit the ground running is important.

If they’re trying to learn a device or desktop OS that they’re not used to, it will take longer for them to become confident using it, which in turn lengthens the amount of time it will take for them to be truly productive.

If you give someone a device they’re already familiar with, then the lead-in time shortens. If that means reducing six months to three, for example, that makes a huge difference to the business.

In some cases, it’s not just a sense of familiarity when people choose Apple products: there’s also an emotional side to it as well.

“People will become more self-sufficient, and learn how to use the device that they’ve chosen,” said Murphy. “There is an emotional attachment to the device if they get to choose it.”

“We operate to a zero-touch deployment model on Macs and iOS devices, where we ship a device to a new user still in the cellophane wrapper untouched by IT.

“We have all the configuration standards, all the applications, mail, security policies, wifi settings, everything, pushed down to that user without it ever coming near IT.”

“As well as lowering the call volume to the service desk, it also lowers the resource consumption from IT to provision new devices for new and existing users. In turn, it gives a better on-boarding experience for users.”

Since acquiring talent depends so much on facilitating Apple devices, Arkphire has a readiness plan to help businesses incorporate it into their workflow.

As Ireland’s only Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller (AAER), it has a wealth of experience in dealing with these problems, and has broken the process down into five steps.

“We always start with resolving the Apple issues that they have,” said Murphy. “Stage one is Managed Procurement Services, where we’ll make sure that your end users get the right devices, at the right time, in the right location, localised. “The next phase is Service Build: building, testing and refining of the service. The third phase is our Enterprise Support service that we’re selling. The fourth is Prove: business case production with the customer to show them the value in device choice.”

“It’s about zero-touch deployment and shipping a device to someone before they start working for you. It’s about proving the business case around device choice, not just from an Apple perspective, but with any device. Then the fifth and final one we do is a framework for IT support transformation.”

The main draw from this is to customise the service to meet the needs of the business. By building out the service with them, it’s easier to make changes and push them out to devices.

Combine that with its Mobile Device Manager (MDM) and its Apple Business Manager, and they can push out policy changes on every device quickly and even overlap with the IT infrastructure managed services space.

“When customers outsource that piece to us or let us do managed services, it allows them to free up management time and look at innovation initiatives like the Apple piece,” Murphy said.

“We can manage your infrastructure for you, so you get time and budget back. Then, with that time and budget, clients can deploy innovative and valuable initiatives like the Apple enterprise management service that we supply.”

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