Employee choice is critical to the WFH future

Jamf confirms Apple's systems are in use across global enterprise as remote working and employee choice define work from home.

Apple, Jamf, Mac, enterprise, iOS, iPhone, macOS, WFH, COVID-19
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Jamf says Apple’s devices are now in use across the world’s biggest and most valuable brands as the pace of change accelerates in response to COVID-19. I spoke with Jamf CEO Dean Hager about what's going on.

Apple in the enterprise

Apple is seeing growth across all industries, though its trajectory is a little slower in the financial industry, field services and transportation, Hager said.

He observed that COVID-19 means that even those industries are now changing, however, as the ability to remain connected and productive now requires all workers to have the right technology.

Solutions from Jamf now run over 20 million Apple devices used across the enterprise. It now has more than 47,000 customers, including 24 of the 25 most valuable Forbes brands, 70% of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies, all 10 of the largest U.S. banks and every single one of the world’s 10 top universities.

You’ll also find Jamf helping to manage Apple deployments in hospitals, schools, government agencies, and more – and, in part driven by COVID-19, the pace of platform deployment is intensifying.

Surviving the pandemic

“COVID-19 forced many organizations to adapt to survive, but trends like remote work, distance learning and telehealth are here to stay,” Hager explained.

“In 2021, organizations will be focusing on how to build and work with technology partners to better support these trends to their end users for the long-term.”

The rush to support work from home early on in the pandemic was all about survival, with enterprises making the best decisions they could within very limited available time. As the pandemic continues, enterprises are growing to recognize the challenges of ensuring support in the long term.

“2021 is about building for the future,” said Hager. “Enterprise organizations need to focus on providing technology to employees ‘that just work’ — whether they are in the office, at home, or on the road. Employees working at home can’t walk down to IT for service.

"Simplicity has never been more important. Deploying technology to employees without IT touching it has never been more important. And building a zero-trust security posture for employees to access cloud resources has never been more important.

"Employees working at home will naturally expect their work technology to be as simple as their home technology. The consumerization of IT that has been underway for the past decade is going to accelerate.”

The pros and cons

That consumerization of IT also means employers and employees are more likely than before to support employee-choice schemes. These provide a level of autonomy the fosters engagement, loyalty, and productivity.

Adopting new platforms isn’t easy. I asked Hager about the three biggest challenges organizations face when considering a move to iPhones, iPads or Macs across their business. As you might imagine, anticipated deployment cost, app compatibility, and the need for visible security protection are the biggest obstacles, even though there is strong evidence that the total cost of ownership of Apple’s devices is lower in the long term.

When it comes to app compatibility, Hager said: “Even if a specific app is not compatible with a particular piece of hardware, and those are getting fewer and father between, there is inevitably another app that can take its place and ensure the employee remains productive and on track. Or, if given the choice, most employees would choose to use Apple, even if they need to use a virtualized Windows-based app for one or two tasks.”

Solutions, including Jamf Protect, help enterprise users gain better visibility into security challenges across their organizations.

“With more employees working from home, companies will focus less on building out facilities and more on making the home environment exceptional for workers — and that starts with the technology they prefer,” Hager said.

What to look for in tech support?

Managing complex mixes of platforms across remote environments poses different challenges, so I asked Hager what he feels C-suite executives should look for when searching for internal IT support and external tech support partners.

“Look for partners that focus on the ecosystems you offer to employees,” he said. “Partners that try to ‘do it all’ often force organizations to offer a dulled, slow, end-user experience that lags behind the latest capabilities. This is exactly the opposite of what you want to offer your employees.

“Offering same-day support of the latest operating system is no small feat, but it's critical for eliminating security threats, lowering support cost, and ensuring workflows are not disrupted. Finding a partner that innovates as the pace the ecosystem requires.”

Around 60% of enterprises now plan to maintain support for remote working moving forward in the future of work.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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