December 13, 2017
Popular / Uncategorized

Using Jamf Pro and MDM for Schools

Written by Jeff Gaines

John Wetter is the Technical Services Manager at Hopkins Public Schools in Michigan, a network of four schools that services grades K through 12 in the Hopkins school district. While attending the Jamf Nation User Conference (JNUC) in 2015, he was inspired enough by what he saw to put it into action, rethinking their student device deployment workflow to great success.

Recognizing the value in time savings as well as ease and convenience for the end user (in this case, students), he applied IBM’s agile strategies to his own IT ecosystem. By automating their device deployment workflow, he was able to deliver 500 iPads at the start of the school year, successfully supplying 93% of the district student population with the technology and software they needed to hit the ground running by the third day of classes.

In addition to student support, Wetter’s new Jamf Pro deployment enables streamlined recruitment and training processes, leveraging automation to add value, save time, and define new user satisfaction metrics to great success.

Knowing this flash of brilliance would be of great interest to other education IT managers, Wetter produced a webinar in conjunction with Jamf in which he shares his experience.

Here are some of the key takeaways from that webinar:

1. Rethinking how success is measured

Wetter’s previous methodology used KPIs to define how well they were doing on the tech side of things, mostly focusing on measuring things like time to resolution for help desk tickets and other metrics they could place on a timeline. Post-JNUC, the way in which they looked at end-users completely changed, switching to a customer service model as opposed to seeing them as students, staff, and faculty. Though there were some trepidations at the outset, they were soon seeing positive scores in the 95% range, a significant increase over their previous methodology.

2. Nurturing the human side of IT

Particularly noteworthy were the changes that Wetter initiated in HPS’s hiring process. In the past, hiring dedicated technical staff was necessary to help troubleshoot apps, device issues, updates, password resets, and so on in their iPad program. Under this methodology, it was a prerequisite for candidates to have strong tech skills. As they morphed to the customer service-driven model, they aligned their priorities accordingly, choosing instead to hire employees with strong communication skills and then bringing them up to speed with the technology on-the-job. In order to have access to top talent in this area, they opened up the schedule to allow for more flexibility and began to onboard new hires in the summer to get them comfortable with the workflows before students arrived in the fall.

3. Automate whenever possible

One of the most exciting takeaways HPS gleaned from this transition was the automation of repetitive tasks. For instance, one component of the iPad program was that parents and students were required to sign an agreement upon accepting their devices – a manual process that was both cumbersome and time-consuming. Leveraging the Jamf Pro API and Google Sheets, parents were now able to sign the permission slip with one click in a Google Form, which would then trigger the API to provision the device.

Lessons learned

HPS now offers enterprise-grade customer support and empowers students, parents, and staff alike with a better learning and technology experience than was previously possible – and they did so with roughly half the budget they had previously required.

If you are using Apple technology to power your business and are interested in learning more about Jamf Pro or other managed services, jump on a call with Interlaced. We are the industry’s most operationally mature Managed Service Provider dedicated to working with Apple-focused businesses, and we would love to tell you how we can help you get the most out of your technology.

Jeff Gaines

Jeff Gaines

Jeff has served as an operating executive at Interlaced since 2016. He is deeply passionate about driving impact for Interlaced, for his community, and for his loved ones. In his spare time, Jeff loves spending time with his wife and son at the world famous San Diego Zoo, enjoying tacos on the beach in Baja, cheering on the San Diego Padres, adventuring outdoors and playing music with friends. Jeff’s top 3 films of all time are Point Break (the original), Road House and Field of Dreams.