JAMF Software simplifies Mac and iOS deployments

Anthony Caruana
12 October, 2016
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JAMF Software is best known for its management software, Casper Suite, which can be used for deploying and managing Macs and iOS devices on a network. Macworld Australia speaks with CEO Dean Hager about what the company has been doing recently and its relationship with IBM, which has been deploying thousands of Macs to its workforce over the last year or so.

JAMF has retained a specialisation in the deployment of Apple devices, resisting the urge to diversify into the management of Windows or Android devices. Hager says the company, which started in 2002, had 6500 customers by the end of 2015. But 2016 has seen that grow to over 9000 customers and almost seven million devices managed with Mac and iOS devices event lay represented.

Hager says the growth on the Mac side of things is being driven by ‘user choice’. With more people having the option to choose their preferred device rather than having computers assigned by the IT department, he says there’s been an ‘explosion’ of Mac usage in businesses.

In addition, the need for better mobile experiences is also significant. IBM’s deployment of over 80,000 devices during the last 14 months has shown the world that Apple’s platforms are a viable choice for business – something that would have been a very hard sell a decade ago.

“A lot of companies are saying if IBM can do it, so can we,” says Hager.

Every one of those devices deployed by IBM has been put into the field using JAMF’s software according to Hager. And IBM says it saves and makes money with every MacBook it deploys.

“That’s exactly opposite of what most people think about the MacBook. They think of it as the expensive machine. But when building up the business case, IBM found it was the less expensive,” says Hager.

When an IBM-owned Mac is turned on for the first time, it is identified by the JAMF server running inside IBM’s environment and all the required applications and settings are installed with no intervention by IT – it’s a complete ‘zero touch’ deployment.

“They just drop-ship these devices, still in the shrink wrap, right to the employee’s home. All they have to do is inbox it and power it on. Everything else is taken care of,” says Hager.

In addition, Hager says IBM’s ongoing support costs for its Mac fleet is far lower than for its Windows fleet. “They have 40 people supporting all the people on Apple devices. They’ve got over 1000 supporting the rest of the non-Apple devices within IBM.”

In addition, IBM says the Apple devices retain more of their initial value at the end of their four-year life and the cost of software over the life of the Mac is much lower. Hager says the difference is significant, but as IBM will be making those numbers official next week, he is currently unable to disclose them.

JAMF’s software is not an alternative to Apple’s Device Enrolment Program. Hager says customers who use JAMF tend to use Apple’s tools at a higher rate. This is because Casper Suite works with, rather than instead of, Apple’s software. This also includes working with the Volume Purchasing Program for software sold through Apple’s macOS/OS X and iOS App Stores.

JAMF’s core product, Casper Suite, has relied on deploying a central server from which the applications and configurations are sent to newly purchased devices. While this is an acceptable cost for larger companies, it can be a deterrent for smaller organisations or those without a dedicated IT team.

The company’s solutions include Bushel. This is a cloud-based Mobile Device Management (MDM) system designed from the ground up for small- and medium-sized businesses. It allows companies to easily deploy, secure and manage Macs, iPads and iPhones.

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