IBM Goes Native for Apple Management
In a world where there is more diversity on the desktop than ever, one of the challenges that MSPs routinely face is figuring out how best to go about managing them all. The natural temptation is to try and find one tool to manage them all, but often that results in a tradeoff in functionality that winds up being unacceptable to the end customer.
For that reason MSPs might want to take note of an alliance between IBM and JAMF Software that was revealed this week. Under terms of the agreement, IBM will make use of Casper Suite management software from JAMF to deliver a set of managed services specifically for Apple (AAPL) environments. Obviously, IBM is already delivering managed desktop services, but Rich Esposito, general manager for mobility services at IBM, said IBM felt the need to deliver an option that is specifically designed around the Apple user experience.
Apple devices are mainstream
Esposito said IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services is a recognition of the simple fact that Apple devices such as the Apple iPad and the Apple iPhone along with Apple PCs are proliferating across the enterprise. To that end, this offering represents a natural extension of IBM’s alliance with Apple under which IBM resells Apple devices and systems along with support services. Esposito said IBM decided to license JAMF Software because in terms of being able to manage Apple devices and systems it has a proven track record. IBM plans to make IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services available as both a service it delivers via the cloud and as a set of software that customers can opt to deploy on premise.
Once IBM MobileFirst Managed Mobility Services are fully up and running Esposito said IBM will explore ways to lead partners resell that service alongside all the other Apple related products and services that IBM currently markets directly and via its channel partners.
The issue going forward is to what degree will the rest of MSP community follow suit? JAMF provides its own set of managed services that partners can resell or they could try to roll their own service. The point is that end customers are resisting one size management frameworks that are not optimized for a particular user experience. As such, like it or not it looks like MSPs may have to start supporting more management frameworks regardless of what impact that that requirement has on their bottom line.