Saturday, March 08, 2008

old myths die hard

When Auto Warehousing Co. announced, last July, that they would be moving quickly to replace Windows PCs with Macs, both employees and customers balked, thinking Macs would be more expensive and that the increased expense would either constrain payroll and benefits or result in higher costs for services, and their bankers wanted assurance that it made good business sense.

Caught off guard by this upwelling of resistance, AWC pushed back the schedule on the conversion project and made use of the time to build support for it, by detailing their thoroughly practical fiscal reasons for going through with it. They estimated that, over three years, Windows licensing would cost them $1.82 Million, whereas the total cost of switching to Macs would be only $335,000.

Even so, it wasn't easy. Dale Frantz, AWC's CIO, had this to say: "We knew we were going down an entirely new road, but we didn't anticipate the huge emotional response that we got back. People are passionate on both sides of the aisle. There's a lot of talk about the cult of Macs, but there's just as strongly a cult of Microsoft. It's just not as widely publicized."

There were also some technical issues, and Apple provided assitance with some of these. It helps that AWC is a large enough company to have the talent to handle most such issues in-house, including the rewriting of a custom, mission critical application in Java.

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