As Apple Device Use in Businesses Increases, SHI Sees Opportunities
Since going into business in 1989, SHI International Corp. has grown into a global IT channel partner with about $8.5 billion in annual revenue. But until now, its Apple business is only a small part of its success.
That could change in the future as the company begins to see new growth opportunities. Apple-at-work programs continue to sprout up and grow inside businesses and organizations of all sizes, from SAP to IBM — and in schools and hospitals.
At the recent Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) in Minneapolis, held by Apple device management software vendor Jamf, Adam Reiser, SHI’s senior Apple team manager, told Channel Futures that the company’s Apple sales and service revenue has been increasing steadily – about 30 percent annually over the last several years – but that management sees even more potential to come.
“It’s definitely an opportunity our leadership team has seen” as Apple device growth has spread in businesses, he said. “It’s growing everywhere you look. The tablet market really spiked and drove our revenue for many years, and the Mac market is growing every day and taking share away from the PC overall in the industry.”
The reseller is so confident about the market that it’s looking to double its Apple business revenue in the next 12-18 months. SHI, which is a full-fledged Microsoft and Apple reseller, took advantage of the iPad sales explosion several years ago as one of the first two resellers for iPads in 2010.
“Our Apple revenue went up by 230 percent that year,” he added.
SHI’s sales force of about 2,500 employees has been spreading the word about the growing use of Apple devices in workplaces as they work to help grow its business. The company made a name for itself by creating its own home-grown Apple device enrollment program for businesses in 2010-2011 before Apple started doing it in 2014, and that helped it deepen its Apple business, said Reiser.
Some 2,500 of the company’s 25,000 active customers do business with SHI — involving Apple devices.
To help manage those devices for customers, that’s where Jamf’s Apple management software and services come into play for larger customers, including Jamf’s flagship product, Jamf Pro.
David Siederer, an SHI Apple solutions architect who works for Reiser, said the Apple-at-work phenomenon began in 2007 as C-level executives inside businesses of all sizes and types began buying and using the then-new iPhones.
“Then they went to IT and said, ‘You have to support this'” inside those companies, said Siederer. “The first iPads basically brought the same thing, but even more so because it was a utility.”
Today, there are still C-level executives who are pushing for Apple device support in their workplaces because they want to use the same devices they are using at home, while companies are also seeing an increasing number of junior workers who want to make choices about the devices they use, he said.
“A lot of them grew up with Macs or came up through college with one,” said Siederer. “It’s becoming a question of if you give someone the tools they’re used to, they’ll get to work much quicker.”
Apple’s initiative to get the company’s devices into schools started in the 1980s. It’s also contributing to today’s growing Apple-at-work initiatives, said Reiser.
“It’s become a recruiting tool for large enterprises, making Macs available to workers, and that’s why it’s taking market share,” he said. “As a full solution provider, it’s a piece of the puzzle for SHI. It may be a small piece so far, but it’s a piece nonetheless. And it’s not just the machines, but their software, hardware, networking and everything.”
Inside SHI, only about 100 of some 4,200 employees are using Apple devices as part of its own Apple-at-work pilot program, said Reiser. Most employees use Windows machines.
Next year, SHI hopes to offer a choice of Apple devices for its own workers, said Reiser.
“You start with a small pilot and expand out from there. Apple likes to call it a ‘journey’ to make Macs a choice — and it’s true. There are lessons learned.”
The Apple-at-work movement has been impacting Siederer’s work, he said.
“This is just picking up speed. My days are getting busier and busier.”
At SHI, the company is promoting its Apple-at-business through email, marketing campaigns and other customer communications.
“We’ve taken companies from not using any iOS devices to completely outfitting their company with first iPhones and then iPads, which parlayed pretty naturally into Macs,” said Siederer. “We want to be a trusted adviser to the customer, not just a salesperson.”