Found: An Apple Managed Service Provider
While most of the managed services industry focuses on Windows systems, Forget Computers has bet its business on managed Apple Macintosh services. Founded in 1998 by Ben Greiner, Forget Computers made the transition to managed services in 2006. And so far, that bet is paying off well. Here’s some analysis.
Forget Computers remotely manages roughly 600 Macintoshes for clientele across the Chicago area, according to Greiner. We discovered his company when Greiner chimed in on a past article. Plus, Forget Computers was a member of our initial MSPmentor 100 report back in 2007-2008. (Our latest MSPmentor 100 survey is now open to participants.)
We followed up with Greiner to get more details about Forget Computers’ business. Not surprisingly, his primary clientele involves creative professionals using Macintoshes across Chicago. Design, advertising and publishing are all customers who can use Forget Computers for everything from simple quick fixes or full update deployments.
Forget Computers uses a combination of Apple Remote Desktop and the Casper Suite from JAMF. (Forget Computers has been working intimately with JAMF on improving Casper.) Remote Desktop is used for peeking in, fixing basic issues or copying a file. Casper is much more powerful and reports in real time back to ‘home base’ on status and changes in hardware, software and applies server policies. Simultaneously, it automates cache cleaning or other routines the company needs. (Ben jokingly calls it “RECON.”)
As Apple gains more momentum, Greiner has found corporate IT professionals increasingly interested in Forget Computers’ services. And with the proliferation of the iPhone, there are a few companies that have IT departments willing to look at Apple products, but not willing to bring Apple training in-house just yet.
Do Macs Really Need Support?
Greiner admits that enticing customers into using Forget Computers’ managed services is a little tricky, since Apple has successfully positioned Macs as low-maintenance machines. After all, why would customers need help with a brand synonymous with ease of use and no viruses?
Greiner’s answer: There’s still a need for an efficiently functioning workplace. Not all users can be expected to be Mac experts for all things. Forget Computers helps with Mac applications, color management support and font support. Plus, Mac server support is priced at the same level as Mac desktop support since the servers typically run simple services like file sharing and backup.
Looking ahead, Greiner is looking to bolster his marketing. A company of just six full-time employees, growth has been successful via word of mouth, but difficult this year. There aren’t any full-on ad campaigns, but in the future, Greiner may look into talking to IT Pros about the usefulness of Macs over PCs in the workplace.
Plus, Greiner is looking to partner up with Windows MSPs that need Mac-centric skills for selected customer settings.