One of the world’s largest banking and financial services organizations, HSBC, last year introduced an employee-choice program enabling its workforce to choose to use a Mac as their primary work computer.
Sign of the times
Back in 2008, HSBC was among the first major businesses to dump BlackBerry and migrate to iPhones. More recently, it joined the trend to migrate workers to Macs as it freed employees to work from home during the pandemic.
Jamf discussed the HSBC project briefly during a recent analyst call. It explained how HSBC worked with Jamf and Apple to enable the program, introducing Zero Touch configuration and deployment so employees could easily get their Macs up and running, enabling them to be remotely pre-configured by tech support, mitigating some of the endpoint risk associated with work from home (WFH).
“This process allowed HSBC to efficiently upgrade devices for employees working from home and reduce deployment costs,” said Jamf CEO Dean Hager.
He noted that the scale of the move to work remotely posed an additional challenge at the time:
“Additionally, this project was completed during a very busy period for HSBC’s IT department since COVID forced 98% of their employees to shift to remote working, including the employees supporting this project.”
[Also read: 200+ Apple WFH tips: 2020 edition]
HSBC has 232,957 employees worldwide, and while it isn’t known how many will now be using Macs (I have asked for more information), this is still likely to be a significant deployment of the platform.
More about Macs
He also noted that while other PC manufacturers had problems meeting demand for WFH computers, Apple was able to maintain supply. That’s particularly impressive given the operational and logistics problems that have beset the industry across the last year, and the huge scale of demand across enterprises for new Macs. (Don’t forget that one of the first pandemic resilience acts engaged in by Starling Bank was to acquire all available MacBooks to equip staff as they moved to work remotely.)
Hager believes that Apple’s introduction of M-series processors in the newest Macs will accelerate the trend of enterprise adoption, noting that demand for these among employees at companies supporting them is already strong. “We see the new Mac increasing demand,” said Hager.
WFH means security at home
Of course, remote working also poses security problems, which has seen some companies fail to migrate to non-kext app development for their anti-malware apps for M1 Macs.
“Remote work, we believe, actually created a greater demand for security solutions as well as those people working from those homes, all the more important to make sure that they are protected from threats,” said Hager.
What comes next?
There’s a growing belief that working remotely will form part of the new normal once we emerge from the pandemic. HSBC certainly seems to agree. Not only has the company started its employee-focused tech choice scheme, but company COO John Hinshaw closed 2020 when he said the bank will use 40% less office space in future.
Jamf is thinking along the same lines. “What we have told our employees is going forward we will continue to have facilities, and we will continue to have offices that employees will come in to work at, and we want to create a great environment where they want to come into work,” said Hager.
“However, our facilities will no longer be an expectation of our employees. It will be a service that we provide them.”
The desire to avoid unnecessary contact during the pandemic also seems to be driving increased use of digital processes, HSBC has said. The company reported a 50% increase in the use of digital chat support services in June 2020 when it introduced support for Apple Business Chat, with similar experiences seen across all such services. Just look at Zendesk shares and how they grew across the last 12 months.
“We’ve been on a multi-year effort in the enterprise and have gained quite a bit of traction there,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the most recent fiscal call. “We’re very optimistic about what we can do in that space.”
Hager seems to agree. He told analysts: “When you come off a year where you’ve had more employees working at home than any time in our history, we believe that will do nothing but fuel the consumerization of IT.”