University of Kentucky unlocks 60% cut in IT costs with Apple

As the Apple world welcomes the USB-C Apple Pencil, Apple-in-the-enterprise proponents might want to eye a case study that suggests Apple products in business boost productivity, and can offer significant advantages in another big tech space, education.

The University of Kentucky recently shared interesting insights that suggest equipping any kind of knowledge worker with these tools should benefit learning and business. The educational institution has been running a Smart Campus iPad initiative for five years, under which all 33,000 students are equipped with iPads, Smart Keyboards, and an Apple Pencil for their studies.

Life of iPad

What’s interesting is that five years into the scheme, the program has raised graduation and retention rates to 70% and 90% respectively. Those are impressive results, but the university has also confirmed what an increasing number of enterprises — SAP, Cisco, IBM, and others — are experiencing: Apple kit is cheaper to run than other platforms.

At Kentucky, this has delivered significant benefits in the form of a 60% reduction in IT costs across the board. “Most people only see the purchase price, but they don’t consider the total cost of ownership. Apple devices cut our IT labor costs in half,” said IT Director Bill Adams.

The data reflect the experience we’re seeing globally right now as incoming employees choose Apple products through any existing employee choice schemes. It’s becoming increasingly clear that their use boosts attainment/productivity, enhances engagement, and cuts costs in a wide number of deployments.

The university also makes use of Apple’s biometric authorization systems, which means its students can use their iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad to access campus buildings, purchase meals, and more.

Adams wasn’t always an Apple advocate – he’s a traditional techie with a Windows background. But the data he touts speaks for itself.

Good bill hunting

The difference in costs is significant to any business, Adams explains in a profile hosted on Apple’s website: “One employee managing 120 Surface tablets can keep over 1,200 iPads running over the same period of time,” Adams says. “And that shocked us! Most people only see the purchase price, but they don’t consider the total cost of ownership. Apple more than pays off during the life cycle of its devices.”

It’s worth noting that while managing the Apple deployment, Adams himself switched to a Mac — something he never thought he would do.

Of course, the University of Kentucky is all about social responsibility. It’s the state’s flagship public land-grant research institution and a huge number of its students are first generation, meaning parents did not get the chance to attend college.

“With iPad, we’ve levelled the playing field for all our students, so even those who haven’t had equal opportunities can access the best technology possible,” said Eli Capilouto, president of the University of Kentucky.

That’s all good, of course — particularly for Kentucky, as students at the school are required to also put energy and invention into projects that will deliver social good across the wider community.

Remember the titans

For enterprise professionals considering company-wide switches to Apple hardware or pondering the potential impact (and need to support) some form of employee-choice options, the experience at the university should provide reassurance that the longer-term benefits will almost certainly outweigh costs.

The experience is far from unique. In education, Taiwan last year revealed similar achievements with its own digital schemes. And in business, we continue to see a tidal wave of enterprise adoption with data to underline the very real business benefits of doing so. Apple recently confirmed two big deployments: at Blackstone, all employees are being offered Macs and iPhones, while biopharmaceutical concern Gilead has equipped its entire sales team with iPads.

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