Jamf and IBM are showing how Mac in the enterprise is changing.

Jamf is showing off huge customer growth, and IBM gave a detailed look at their Mac deployment.

It’s a good time to think about macOS and Macbooks.

Jamf had their Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) last week, featuring IBM as a huge customer reference. And this week, Apple is probably going to announce new Mac hardware.

If you’re not familiar with Jamf, they’re a Wisconsin-based company that’s widely known for having the best macOS management software available. (Seriously, people really like Jamf.) They also manage iOS, and they’re big in education and other Mac-heavy industries.

Jamf has been chalking up impressive growth. They’re at 9103 customers, up from 5970 a year ago; in the last year and a half they’ve doubled the size of their engineering team to about 125; and they’re just passing 7 million devices under management (split about evenly between iOS and macOS). Here are their main announcements from the event:

  • New branding: JAMF Software itself is now simply called Jamf; JAMF Casper Suite is Jamf Pro; and JAMF Bushel is Jamf Now.
  • There’s a new version of their main management suite: Jamf Pro 10. Updates include a new admin UI and workflows; a new user self-service app; and more integrations, including ServiceNow.
  • Customers can migrate from Now (the entry-level version) to Pro, and the change will be transparent to users.

Of course one of the big topics at JNUC was the massive iOS 9.3 update from March, but I was more interested to learn how macOS and MacBook management is changing.

This subject has always been interesting. Rogue Macs have always been part of the enterprise landscape, but there was never quite the same amount of urgency around them as there was with iOS and Android. This is partly because the absolute numbers are much smaller, and partly because we’re talking about a long-standing desktop OS—most day to day apps either have web apps or a macOS version, and they don’t force a complete rethinking of app concepts the way that mobile devices do.

MDM for macOS has existed since 2012, and most EMM vendors support it, but this hasn’t caused a widespread rethinking of Macs in the enterprise, either. Yes, it’s better than nothing for BYOD, but just like we’ve been talking about with Windows 10 all year, corporate desktop OSes (including macOS) need more than just MDM for advanced management tasks. For macOS, this often means using Jamf.

So what’s changing now?

For one thing, there’s Jamf’s increasing momentum. Dean Hager, Jamf’s CEO, attributed their Mac management growth to companies that want to finally reign in rogue devices, and then officially offer device choice and expand deployments.

In an interesting anecdote, Jamf said that 6 of the top 10 (and 3 of the top 5) vendors in the Gartner EMM Magic Quadrant use Jamf to manage Macs internally, even though most of them support MDM for macOS. Mac deployments are also especially big here in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It’s an outlier from the enterprise, I know, but still a big market.

Then there’s IBM. A year ago we first learned that they had rolled out 30,000 Macs internally. This year at JNUC, we learned that they’re up to 90,000 Macs, and will reach 100,000 by the end of the year. IBM’s VP of workspace as a service, Fletcher Previn, gave a really interesting presentation about this rollout. You can watch the whole thing here, but some interesting tidbits are they they leverage the Apple Device Enrollment Program for an ‘out-of-box’ experience, and they make their users local admins. Fletcher also talked about cost savings. Of course we’re always suspicious of anything involving cost models, but this was their internal IT business case, not marketing materials.

Final thoughts

While this may seem like a grab bag of anecdotes about Macs in the enterprise, all of this points to more activity now than in the past (and we’ve spent a lot of time talking about all sorts of options and ideas). It makes me wonder if any of the unified endpoint management vendors will start talking about Mac management more. If and when they do, though, they’ll find Jamf with a strong lead.

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