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January 25, 2010


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We've standardized on MacBooks at Sanctuary. The main easy replace part is hard drives. We've easily swapped drives out, backed up from the latest Time Machine backup and been back up and running in minutes. OSX upgrades are far cheaper than Windows and house of worship discounts and fewer help desk issues have been a huge bonus for us being an all-mac office. I would say that our help desk issues dropped by 75% or more within a few months of converting everyone to macs. Makes my IT life much easier (I say this as an Pseudo IT boy, not just a fanboy).

We're also getting close to phasing out our use of Office for google docs and iWork. Again, the cost is the main issue and people have been reasonably comfortable with the transition.

Thanks for the comment Jeremy. Of course I was hoping for less "macs are better than PC" input, but I knew I'd get some anyways :-)
Come on now, be honest and admit you bleed Apple and have a Steve Jobs tattoo ;-)
I'd argue you would have seen same reduced support requests if you had all new Dell laptops vs macbooks. Anything new and 100% standardized will be a big win over a prior environment be it mac or PC.

I'll be interested to hear how google docs works out for your staff. Several folks I know using it are frustrated by the lack of layout controls. We're using gdocs here at the house and my 11yr old recently said he needed something better. So we installed openoffice and he's happier.

I just updated the blog post ... I failed to mention we DO standardize on Macs for AV creation/production. They own that niche for sure.

Sorry, I really wasn't trying to say Macs are better...really. I can't speak from my own experience without talking about our Mac standardizing transition. Just saying where we landed because we don't have a dedicated IT guy. Other than me of course, and I also run Communication, Web, Media and Bookstore, so you can see how dedicated I am...Mac Standardization has just been far easier for me and has some facets that help make cost differences minimal.

Starting as a designer, I didn't have any PC experience, before inheriting the role of IT. I felt like I was on constant help desk duty with problems that I couldn't solve. So I needed to move people to the macs to get to a place where I could provide solutions. A double-dose of fortunate results happened. The problems that came to me, I could solve. And...a lot fewer problems came to me. Much of the problems revolved around virus/spyware issues which just don't happen on the mac side (for various reasons of course).

Aside from all that though, standardization has dramatically helped. It's so easy to swap things in and out when everybody is on the same macbook. We have a few iMacs that are all the same too, but those are a pain to replace parts in so they get sent out for service.

But, yes, amen to standardizing your machines, PC or Mac. It makes life easier.

We are in pursuit of ultimate rebellion. We are after complete cloud conversion. We converted domain based google Apps and with event U, Fellowship One, Quickbooks web and worship planning online, a majority of our apps are cloud. We have converted all standard hard drive storage to dropbox. For us platforms and machine issues are neutralized with web connectivity and speed is the goal. I know that is controversial, but we love it and I can buy any machine and connect. Added to the mix is Phone apps for most if these apps including dropbox. We believe churches should be in the clouds.

Jeremy – how many macs do you have? Have you looked at getting Apple self-service certified? Then you can do all the repair stuff in house. I should probably do a blog post on that too :)

Bob - But going cloud doesn’t solve the hardware and operating system issues that standardization addresses. The cloud is just an app. You still need a computer to get to the cloud. Hardware will fail and operating systems will have problems … both can kill access to the cloud. I don’t see how moving into the cloud changes that.

Great examples on standardizations, I worked for Southwest for several years and standardization with them was not done by accident, SWA was always very determined to make productivity as high as possible and costs as low as possible.

Great article and I love the knowledge you share and the IT roundtables you host and encourage! You said you make all users local admin and while we did this in the past we found that we huge amounts of "extra" software being installed that slowed the computers down and such. How do you prevent users from adding those extra features, widgets and such? Thanks and keep up the great work!

ScottF - thanks

Scott - We don't do anything really to prevent a user installing whatever they want. However, they are warned that if they jack up their computer with non-supported software their issue gets low priority and we'll most likely reimage the whole machine if it takes more than 15mins to solve an issue. If you listen to my All Staff presentation audio I address this question more than once :-)

Jason, I was wondering if GCC does any standardization for smart phones or cell phones. If you have any details, please let me know.

Jordan - We don't manage or support staff cell phones or plans. What we do tell staff is that we'll help them connect any ActiveSync compatible phone to our Exchange server. After that they're on their own :-)
I think we have 40 iPhones and 4 Pre's hitting our Exchange server.

Jason, I was looking into the Apple Certification programs for support and technician for hardware but I am not really all that familiar with their programs. Are they worth the expense? I understand the benefits but trying to quantify them to the church administrator on a cost/benefit it something I am trying to understand myself. The church just wants to make sure they will receive the benefit of having an onsite certified IT person over not (we do have about 80% macs to pc's). Thx. Scott

ScottF - Apple Self Servicing Account info http://www.apple.com/support/programs/ssa/
Cost is only $100-150 for the exam. Because of our location it's hard to get any quick repair service so for us this will be helpful. If you live near an Apple store prob less helpful. Comes down to how long can your mac be down? This is perhaps my MAIN beef with Apple. They have no real enterprise level support. With our Dell gear a tech is onsite next day to replace hardware ... Apple needs to do similar if they truly want into the enterprise market space.

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  • Jason Powell is the Information Technology Director at Granger Community Church. The views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of GCC ...
    or are they? Hmm???

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