Digital transformation is a long term commitment that radically changes the culture of an organisation. Which means that if you’re going to do it, you need to be on a platform that can change with you, and that offers you a combination of stability and flexibility. We think that’s the Apple platform.
Earlier this year, MDM providers Jamf reported that 91% of organisations now use Mac and 99% use iPad and iPhone. This surge in popularity is partly due to employees who use iOS devices in their personal lives demanding access to the same technology in the workplace, but there are a number of compelling reasons why the Apple platform is ideal for the enterprise space, especially if you’re pursuing digital transformation.
Co-engineered hardware and software
Apple computers are known for their long lifespan and excellent build quality. Unlike most other manufacturers, Apple produce the hardware and software components of their devices, so the two are perfectly engineered to work together. This makes machines more reliable and less prone to productivity-sapping bugs and glitches. It also means that the user experience is consistent across the full range of devices, so an employee who has an iPhone will be able to figure out how to use their first desktop Mac quickly and intuitively.
As mobile working becomes more prevalent, the integration between Apple devices becomes more important. iCloud storage has been a standard part of an Apple account for some time now, and in the last few years huge strides have been made in improving the integration between desktop, iOS and cloud versions of their core apps, so users on different devices and platforms can collaborate in realtime. iOS’s Handoff functionality even allows employees to close a document on their desktop as they leave the office, and open the same document on their iPhone to work on while they travel.
Most Apple devices have a built-in camera, GPS, gyroscope and accelerometer. Apps can take advantage of these to record data that would have previously required expensive equipment, or increase visibility over your operations at low cost (giving delivery drivers an iPhone with a tracking app is probably the most common example of this). And because Apple produce iPads and iPhones in a range of sizes without much drop-off in performance, every employee will be able to find a model that meets their needs.
A focus on privacy and security
Apple devices provide the best security of any mainstream platform. This ranges from system level security, such as using Touch ID to enforce two-factor authentication, to sandboxing apps, to AES-256 bit hardware encryption for data at rest and a VPN over the transport layer when your data’s in transit.
When an Apple device in enrolled into a mobile device management (MDM) solution, the device is designed to secure important company data while protecting end user privacy. The MDM solution can only see corporate data and apps, not personal information, creating a natural separation between corporate and personal data without any need for separate workspaces. This is particularly useful in BYOD or mobile working environments, as it allows you to wipe, restrict and control corporate data without interfering with any of the user’s own files.
Apple have made it even easier to enrol your devices into a MDM solution be rolling out their Device Enrolment Programme. The DEP allows your MDM solution to save settings and profiles to Apple’s own servers. When you turn on a new device, Apple then push the appropriate profile to the device immediately, so security settings are applied from the moment the user turns on the device, so they’re never working on an uncontrolled device and there’s no chance of you losing vital data.
Streamlined deployment and management
As mentioned previously, there are number of device management solutions available for the Apple platform, and both iOS and macOS are designed to work with your management solution, not against it. Apple even introduced a Device Enrolment Programme that allows your MDM solution to communicate with their servers and automatically install the correct profile on a new device as soon as it’s turned on, enabling zero touch deployment. Once a device is active, you can manage how it accesses accounts, apps, books, domains and extensions, and dictate the user’s ‘Open in’ options when they access a file.
As for corporate apps, these can be purchased centrally and in bulk, then pushed out over MDM. Alternatively, you can host a private app store populated with whitelisted apps to ensure your employees only have access to approved content.
Another advantage of iOS in particular is the fact that, because updates are quick, easy and user-centric, over 59% of iOS devices are on the latest version of the operating system just six weeks after its initial release. Contrast that with the Android user base, which at the time of writing had only 0.6% of its membership on the latest iteration, and which has substantial numbers of users who are still several versions back.
This version sprawl increases the likelihood Android devices will be incompatible with your legacy systems, be unable to access the latest version of core apps, and generally increase the amount of time your IT have to spend on day to day support, as they have to be aware of five generations’ worth of bugs and fixes, as opposed to being able to quickly identify and correct issues they know a single generation has with your systems.
The best platform for apps
Apple’s App Store currently houses over 230,000 apps for business. Whatever issue you’re trying to address, there’s likely to be a native app to get you started. If you don’t have time in your schedule to sift through 230,000 apps, take a look at Apple’s specially selected Mobility Partners are a great place to start. These best of breed apps have been identified as particularly innovative, comprehensive or useful within their sector, and are ideal for companies who want to engage with digital transformation.
As well as helping you find the best off the shelf solutions, Apple also aim to make life as easy as possible for in-house development teams. All of their devices are optimised for the Swift programming language, which is easy to learn and was designed with security first in mind. If you decide to build your own apps, you’ll get access to the Apple’s Xcode IDE, and Simulator testing environment.
Once your app is developed, it can be hosted privately on the App Store, so you can reap the benefits of Apple’s distribution platform without making your app visible to the general public.
All this is impressive, but Apple aren’t determined to take on the enterprise alone. They’ve partnered with the likes of Cisco, Deloitte, SAP and IBM (who currently have the world’s largest Mac estate) to develop an integrated suite of solutions that ensures you won’t be starting from the ground up if you choose to adopt Macs.
As well as ensuring that Apple and PC systems can be integrated across your organisation, these partnerships are developing dedicated solutions for iOS devices and doing a huge amount to reassure stakeholders that iOS devices in particular can be a stable, secure part of their IT estate.
Why choose Jigsaw24?
We have over 25 years’ experience working in mixed platform environments, and were recently named the UK’s first Apple Authorised Enterprise Reseller. The staff in our dedicated Apple Practice have unrivalled expertise, knowhow and experience in providing Apple solutions. Our services cover:
Strategy on Apple ecosystem If you’re considering reviewing, updating or building your IT strategy over the next five years, and want a clear roadmap for your Apple estate, we can help by supporting mixed environments and even offering outsourced IT support.
App development and UI design With our own internal app development team, we’re able to assist with every step of getting you your own iOS app, from an initial consultation to scope out what you need, through to development and implementation, including deployment and management.
Business process optimisation Our consultants can advise on your current workflow and what can be done to improve it, with recommendations for moving forward so you can optimise your business processes.
Security and risk management We’re well equipped to consult on device security, and make sure iOS and macOS address the security requirements and regulations of your organisation.
Deployment and transition We can deploy ready-configured devices to your end users, and our device transition and data migration service ensures all devices are seamlessly transitioned and that all user data is transferred.
Support Our in-life support ensures your devices are always covered, including hardware break/fix, remote support, onsite visits and replacement devices.
Lifecycle management We provide all the services you need throughout the life of your Apple device. From a simple warranty to a complete support and management service – we can even help you release the residual value of your device when it’s time for a refresh.
Apple devices are a popular, powerful tool for business transformation. User demand for access to the Apple platform is high, and the potential for its native apps to increase productivity, efficiency and end user satisfaction is clear. If you need a more bespoke solution, the Swift programming language provides a secure, easy to learn point of entry into development for both iOS and macOS. To find out more about how we can help you begin this journey, or unlock the potential of devices already in your organisation, get in touch with the team on the details below.