The top 5 benefits of BYOT and shared purchase

The top 5 benefits of BYOT and shared purchase

An increasingly IT literate workforce is demanding access to the best tools for their job. They’re now far more aware of the platforms and devices available to them, and as a result, businesses (and more importantly, IT teams) are feeling the effects. Previously there’s always been a bit of reluctance to set up an official BYOT scheme. Now, there’s no denying that it is here to stay; in a Gartner survey on the consumerisation of IT, 85% of respondents said that employees are demanding access to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

However, regardless of whether you decide to let employees bring in their own smartphone, or supply them as part of a shared purchase scheme, understanding the benefits is a good place to start…

1. Control costs

Let’s be frank, this is always going to depend on the type of scheme you opt for. Some companies expect employees to buy and maintain their own devices, which is cheaper in the short term but can lead to you having to support a lot of different platforms and devices. To maximise productivity and minimise trauma to their tech support teams, many IT Directors opt to use a shared purchase or salary sacrifice scheme. This allows them to set up a list of IT-approved devices for employees to choose from (so all of them can be supported easily in-house) and insist on certain basics, like good security software and plenty of RAM.

Whichever scheme you go for, you need to factor in support costs and data plans (which can both be offset to the employee to save money), and whether or not your existing infrastructure and network are equipped to take on more devices (which may affect the amount you’ll spend in the short term).

2. Improve productivity

What’s not to love? Your employees get to work on a device that they are comfortable with, they have access to all of their work outside of the standard nine to five, and there’s no need to spend a fortune on hardware. That’s especially true if the IT environment is properly supported, giving everyone access to office files and email from anywhere. We’re not trying to turn your employees into caffeine-guzzling technozombies, but you are likely to find them checking their email out of hours on their smartphone or finishing a proposal when they get bored of Corrie.

3. Retain employees

Citrix state that one of the main reasons businesses are choosing to invest in BYOT schemes is to attract and retain employees. By letting people work on the platform of their choice (without actually having to provide that device) and actively promoting the use of technologies such as Apple’s iPad, you are more likely to be seen as a forwardthinking company, upping productivity and employee satisfaction without making things too complex for your IT team (although we’d recommend asking employees to take out support contracts for any devices they intend to use at work).

4. Drive innovation

This is one of the benefits you hear less about, but is actually often one of the main driving forces behind companies adopting BYOT and shared purchase. Companies tend to find that as users embrace technology they’ll find new uses for it, and can find (or develop) additional content that helps improve the way the business works. Once you’ve got a mobile device or computer that you’re comfortable using, new applications for it are discovered much quicker. Just take a look at The Guardian’s story to see how technological changes were the main driving force behind their employee iPad scheme.

5. Minimise helpdesk calls

There are two aspects to this. On the one hand, if employees are using their own devices, you have the option to choose not to support the devices for any problems that don’t directly affect its ability to connect to your corporate systems. On the other, you’ll have a workforce who are all far more aware of how their device works and are happier to do basic troubleshooting than they would be on a company-owned machine. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it…

Want to find out more about how we can help you with BYOT and shared purchase schemes. Take a look at our Apple for business services. Alternatively, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email to discuss how your business would benefit.

PCs, Macs and mobiles: Our guide to cross-platform integration

PCs, Macs and mobiles: Our guide to cross-platform integration

With Macs making their way into the workplace and students using a broader range of technology than ever at home, it’s increasingly important that schools equip students with the skills to tackle either platform. For schools which already have an existing Mac suite (it’s probably in your media department) this is just a question of expansion, but if you’re encountering Macs for the first time, it might feel a little intimidating. With that in mind, we present our top tips for smoother Mac/PC integration.

1) Add Windows to your Macs

If you already have Windows licences, or know that some staff and students will need access to platform-specific apps, you can opt to access Windows software from your Macs. The cheapest way to do this is through Boot Camp – a feature built in to OS X that lets you choose to boot in Mac or Windows mode at startup. In Windows mode, your Mac will be able to open Windows files and access programs that typically only work on PCs – fantastic news if you can only support a limited number of machines, but a bit slow as you have to reboot to switch between operating systems, and can’t access your Windows and OS X resources at the same time.

If you need to work with Mac OS X and Windows simultaneously, take a look at desktop virtualisation solutions. Simpler versions like VMware Fusion or Parallels Desktop allow you to host a Windows environment on your Mac, giving your students access to a Windows environment alongside their Mac one. More advanced virtualisation solutions even let you save different versions of the Windows desktop centrally on your school’s servers, and users can stream the appropriate one to their desktop when they need it. This means distance learners and students in a classroom see the same desktop and can’t access any apps they don’t need, while teachers and tech teams can have customised, more comprehensive Windows workspaces. There’s even an app from Parallels that means you can get access to your Windows apps from your iPad!

2) Manage everything with Windows servers

When you set up a cross-platform environment, you often use OS X and Windows servers running side by side to manage security policies and access to resources. This is known as the ‘Golden Triangle’ method and, while it’s reliable and fairly easy to manage, it can be difficult to set up if you don’t have anyone with Mac expertise on your IT team. Fortunately, there are plenty of third-party tools to help your Macs run on Windows servers alone. Centrify’s DirectControl makes your Macs look like Windows PCs to your servers, so they can be managed in the same way using the same tools, while GroupLogic’s ExtremeZ-IP makes sure that Windows and OS X users can access the same files and resources.

All of this means that your IT team don’t have to learn a new system, which in turn means fewer glitches, less downtime and a more seamless experience for students and staff, whichever platform they’re using. As an Enterprise Device Alliance Systems Integrator, we can help you get your hands on the software and hardware you’ll need, run proof of concept schemes and deploy whichever solution you choose. (Our endlessly patient tech support team are also on hand should anything go wrong.)

3) Manage Macs and mobile devices together

If staff or students are using devices like iPad or iPod touch and you’re using Mobile Device Management software like JAMF’s Casper or Absolute’s Absolute Manage, there is a version of the software available for desktop Macs too, so your team shouldn’t have to tackle too steep a learning curve. Casper can handle iOS devices and Macs, while Absolute Manage can tackle iOS, Android, PCs and Macs.

To find out more about making Macs and PCs work together, call us on 03332 409 333 or email

Budget rendering on an iMac

Budget rendering on an iMac

Now, for the first time, Apple iMacs are available with ‘quad-core’ processors (Core i5 or Core i7, if you want to be pedantic). In the same way that multiple processors reduce render times, multiple cores on a single processor also share the computational load. They do this by delegating tasks across each of the cores, as opposed to having one core doing all the work. This can lead to a four-fold increase in speed, especially for rendering. 

Thanks to the quad-core processors, the new generation iMacs are much more efficient than their ancestors when it comes to rendering images – and, of course, they still feature all of the usual gadgets and gizmos you expect from Apple computers.

The workhorse that is the Mac Pro has boasted quad-core processing in previous generations, but only now does its Xeon processor come with the ‘Nehalem’ badge – which is also now shared by the i5 and i7 in the iMac. The Nehalem label itself is exactly that, but it represents some pretty effective technology; while previous Intel multi-core processors are placed on two separate ‘dies’ (parts of an integrated circuit), the Nehalem design is such that all cores sit on a single die. The advantage of this is that no data needs to travel outside the processor when moving from core to core, meaning you’ll benefit from more efficient data transfer and faster processing. Not bad, eh?

To put that into perspective, tests using 3D software have shown that a 2.66GHz quad-core Nehalem processor performs as well as the ‘faster’ 3.00GHz Core 2 Quad. That’s a speed improvement of 340Mhz!

Another feature of the latest releases from Apple is hyperthreading – supported in the Core i7 iMacs and all Mac Pros. Hyperthreading is a process by which multi-core CPUs are able to create ‘virtual’ cores, where two threads/tasks can run simultaneously on one core. In this way, a quad-core iMac has eight virtual cores that your operating system will recognise. Virtual cores are a tricky concept, but the upshot for you is better utilisation of available processing power, better multi-tasking, and quicker rendering.

Finally, on those occasions when you’re not pushing the boundaries of 3D design, all i5 and i7 iMacs and all Mac Pro processors support a feature called Turbo Boost – which is actually as exciting as it sounds (or is that just me..?): Turbo Boost recognises when not all cores are being used, and increases the processing speed of the core that’s in use. This little feature comes in very handy when you’re just surfing the web or streaming video content, as it ensures you’ll always get the most from your machine.

There’s so much more we could say about Apple’s latest releases, like how the new giant, HD screens are perfect for design work (not to mention watching movies!), so if you want to know more about which option is best for you, give our 3D team a call on 03332 409 309 or email Visit us on Facebook and Twitter (@Jigsaw24Video)