FAQs: Apple’s VPP (Volume Purchasing Programme)

FAQs: Apple’s VPP (Volume Purchasing Programme)

Our resident technology guru and IT agony uncle is fielding all your questions on how to buy and distribute apps to iPad using Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (VPP).

What is VPP?

Legally, you can’t just run the same app on each device – you have to own a separate licence for each device. But with the Volume Purchase Programme from Apple you can easily buy multiple copies of apps, and dish them out to pupils’ devices via managed distribution.

The best thing about it though, is that unlike the regular App Store, VPP lets developers offer education pricing on their apps, so you can find yourself getting bulk discounts of 50% off on many apps too!

Who’s responsible for the process?

Responsibility for the VPP process is divided up into three separate roles – the Programme Manager, Facilitator and Technical. The Programme Manager is the person you pick to decide about who can purchase apps and take the lead in making programme decisions. We’d recommend the head teacher, for example.

The Programme Facilitators are people who are authorised to make purchases of apps and books, so teachers, for example. Then someone a bit more technical will be responsible for distributing the app licence codes to the relevant users across your school.

You might have different ideas for how you want to share the responsibilities, and if someone is really confident with the process, or you’re in a smaller school, one person could perhaps even volunteer to take on the lot.

How do we pay for apps?

When it comes to payment, currently the best way is for each Facilitator to have access to a payment card, or even to share a payment card. You can also send a purchase order to Jigsaw24, asking us to add credit to your VPP account for you, if you don’t have a card.

How do we distribute apps?

VPP has its own online shop which lets teachers or admin purchase apps and unlock licences, which then get sent to your Technical contact as a list of codes in a big spreadsheet or added to your management system (MDM). Once your technical guru has the codes, they can then distribute them in a number of ways. Please contact us if you’d like advice on which is best for you.

1. Split up the codes and email them to students and staff to manually download the apps themselves.

2. Use an over-the-air MDM solution to distribute app recommendations.

3. Use Apple Configurator and a USB connection to load the apps onto devices.

4. Ask for Managed Distribution licences instead of codes, so that your MDM solution can push out apps and even pull them back again!

You’ll need to bear in mind that downloading Apple’s free apps like Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand and iMovie works a little differently, and you need to request licences for those, preferably before using the iPads. Contact us to find out how.

Who actually owns the apps?

Once an app is deployed, it has an owner depending on how you ordered the apps. If you ordered your apps by the spreadsheet method and deployed them using Apple Configurator over USB, or if you invited users to your VPP account, the apps belong to the school and can be ‘loaned’ to pupils temporarily, and then redeemed back when needed.

If you emailed the codes to pupils, or put the spreadsheet into your MDM solution, the apps belong to the pupils for good. It’s a bit of a different way of working, but it’s an amazing benefit for pupils and parents!

How do I enrol?

To set up a VPP account, just head over to www.apple.com/uk/education/it/vpp where you’ll find full information on how to enrol. Once the Programme Manager has set up the account, you can add your Facilitators and start shopping around for apps and books!

Got another VPP question? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Everyone needs a good backend: Getting Mac and PC to work together

Everyone needs a good backend: Getting Mac and PC to work together

With 20 years’ experience, we like to think we’ve played a key part in helping UK businesses to understand the benefits of cross-platform environments. As well as providing a wide range of hardware and ensuring our support and engineering teams are qualified to help our customers through Mac/PC crises, we were the first ever Enterprise Device Alliance Systems Integrator, meaning we’ve been working closely with manufacturers like Absolute Software, Centrify and GroupLogic to deliver the software that’ll bring your hardware closer together, no matter what platform it runs on.

With all this in mind, we thought it was time to get our engineer Dave to give us his top tips for getting started with mixed platform environments…

Do you go for a Mac server or PC one?

“If you have someone familiar with Mac OS X on your team, there’s no harm in going for the traditional ‘Golden Triangle’ method of integration, where a Mac OS X and a Windows server work in tandem to give your Macs access to Active Directory. However, lots of corporate tech teams don’t have an Apple geek to hand, so incorporating Mac servers can seem more daunting or time-consuming than it’s worth. One way around this is to use Centrify’s DirectControl software, which sits on your Mac devices and makes your Windows server see them as PCs, so you can manage authentication and policies on all devices as if they were the PCs you know and (sort of) love.”

Improve compatibility between the two platforms.

In any cross-platform environment, you’re going to come up against incompatibility issues – it’s inevitable – and one of the most common when it comes to accessing Windows servers on a Mac is greyed out files. ExtremeZ-IP by GroupLogic is a Windows-based tool that taps into the Mac’s native Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) and lets Mac users access Windows file and print servers as if they were PC users, without coming up against inaccessible and corrupted files. Essentially it sits on your servers, making the user experience seamless and giving you enterprise level security, all without anyone ever really knowing it’s there.

Run Windows on your Macs.

“Boot Camp, which comes built into Mac OS X, allows users to choose between an OS X environment and a Windows one at startup. While it’s a cheap way to get your users access to both platforms (all you need to buy is a Windows licence), the two environments are completely separate, and you have to reboot to move between them.

If your users are demanding access to Windows-only and OS X-only applications at the same time, grab yourself some desktop virtualisation software. Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion are the big names in this space – Fusion has excellent built in security features, Parallels has the power needed for doing things like CAD or media work via a virtual desktop – and both will let you access a Windows desktop from within your Mac one without having to log out or reboot.”

Stream Windows desktops to your Macs from a central server.

“If you need to maintain tighter control over who does what with their Windows apps, or want to conserve resources by only allowing certain users access to certain programs, take a look at Citrix XenDesktop. It lets you host Windows desktops on a central server and stream them to individual Macs on demand. From an admin point of view this is awesome – you can update apps on your server rather than client machines, so everyone’s always streaming the latest version. You can create different desktops for different user groups or roles, so people are only streaming what you need, and you can grant different permissions to, say, remote and in-office workers, so that no-one can save mission-critical information to their home computer.”

It’s time to lay down the law

As well as being accredited by VMware, Microsoft and many others, our 20 years’ industry experience means we’re well placed to help you review security, compliance and governance requirements and draw up best practices. Our consultants can make recommendations on software to ensure you meet official guidelines without robbing employees of motivation, innovation or well-earned Facebook time…

To find our more, give us a call us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For the latest news and advice, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.