If you’ve standardized Apple for your infrastructure or even if only some of your organization uses Macs, you should probably think about enrolling your organization in Apple’s Business Manager (ABM) Program.

The program is a dedicated portal that allows Hybridge and you to deploy and manage all your corporate Apple devices from one place. Companies gain centralized control allowing for efficient deployment of applications, configuration of Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Management of devices at scale ensures consistent security standards across all devices, mitigating potential risks and safeguarding sensitive corporate data.

Additionally, you can easily see the purchase history of your Apple assets, including purchase dates, warranty, and specifications making inventory management and asset depreciation easier. Integrating ABM into a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution like Cisco Meraki Systems Manager enables Hybridge to can enforce policies, deploy software, and remote wipe and brick devices for you.

This all sounds really good, however, there are multiple steps and programs that need to be implemented in order to reap the full benefits described above. It turns out that ABM is really just the overarching program to other programs within Apple. To take advantage of centralization and standardization you need to also set up:

  • ADE - Automated Device Enrollment (previously DEP)
  • DUNS - to qualify we need to get a Dun and Bradstreet rating and number for you if you don’t already have one
  • VPP - Volume Purchasing Program –volume discounts on license purchases and software deployment to all company devices
  • Managed Apple IDs – while we do not recommend using personal IDs for corporate computers, Managed Apple IDs do not have the Find My functionality, which is by far the best location service available. We recommend setting up “personal corporate” Apple IDs using the company domain (in effect CORPORATE IDs) to ensure corporate ownership of the device and data
  • Custom Apple Store - purchasing portal where new purchases take place. All devices purchased here are automatically part of ADE
  • MDM – Mobile Device Management – this is really the reason to go through all this hassle: your ability to enforce and secure devices and data across the organization. Enrolling devices on a standalone MDM solution is not enough as users can remove the functionality. If MDM is enabled through ABM users CANNOT remove it from the device

This sounds like a lot, and it is. Each of the programs above comes with its own nuances that need to be navigated. Additionally, there are two hurdles for clients implementing ABM that detracts from the overall gains in the beginning:

  1. Purchasing devices – most clients rely on Hybridge to purchase, set up and deliver new devices to their end users. Our customized, white glove service is one of the many benefits our clients enjoy. However, the ABM program only allows the client, not third parties, to make purchases. That means our finance department can create a proposal (define the specs and add devices to the shopping cart) but only the client can make the actual purchase. This turns out to be a cumbersome multistep process that causes delay and frustration and requires a point person on the client side to do check outs. It doesn’t sound complicated, but purchases become a hassle. The upside is a centralized view of your assets, which is highly desirable
  2. Adding existing devices to a new program - trying to add existing devices to a newly established program can require a significant amount of work up to and including wiping the device and resetting it again completely. This is a time and money investment that some clients are unwilling to undertake. Some clients choose to add their devices to the program slowly, through device replacement over a period of time. This means that likely you will end up with some devices in the program and some without for possibly a couple of years and that some of the standardization you are looking to achieve will take longer to accomplish

You will need to decide if for your organization the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain. Fortunately, Hybridge is a certified Apple Partner with experience in setting up and managing all the steps above and can guide you through the process. If you are wondering if the ABM program is worth it for your organization, contact us at info at hybridge.com and we can discuss ABM with you.

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