The next big thing is always right around the corner, and that’s no more evident than in the technology industry.
When PC giant IBM turned to Mac to enable greater employee productivity and satisfaction — growing their Mac count to nearly 150,000 while saving money with every Mac over PC in the process — this sent a message to the rest of the enterprise.
And when industries such as education and healthcare continue to expand the usage of technology beyond traditional classroom and hospital settings to better engage teachers, student and parents or offer an in-patient experience from the comfort of home, we all take notice.
I highlight these scenarios because you often need to look to the past to predict the future. While even that can be a dangerous endeavor, let’s go for it. Below are four areas where I see the tech industry expanding in 2020.
1. Redefining UEM: From “endpoint” to “ecosystem” management
The one-time vision of managing all “endpoints” the same through a unified endpoint management (UEM) model is transforming into how IT organizations can get the most out of the “ecosystem” — Microsoft, Google or Apple. This modern approach not only streamlines workflows for IT but provides the best experience for each and every user.
While many research firms (for many years) have proclaimed UEM as the future of device management, their projections have not come close to fruition. Case in point, Gartner now believes UEM is three to five years away for most organizations — something that was also predicted three to five years ago.
Chris Silva, research vice president at Gartner, told Computerworld this is due to the complexity in updating staff skills and business processes in preparing technology for deployment in a UEM model. Silva added that many Gartner clients are tapping the brakes on their move to UEM.
And the data supports this.
“The vast majority of companies are still using multiple management platforms, with less than 5% actually using UEM,” said Andrew Hewitt, Forrester Research analyst.
I’ll go one step further. Organizations are not simply tapping the brakes. They are slamming on them. Or better yet, many never hit the gas in the first place.
Microsoft, Google and Apple are all focused on their own ecosystems and building solutions for their own hardware. And every year, each ecosystem adds to their solutions and cloud-communication protocols to best manage and empower users to leverage their devices.
Take for instance the chart below. With so many differences, how can a consistent management and user experience be achieved?
It can’t. With each ecosystem having its own method of deployment, operating system release cycle, security features and overall device management differentiation — just to name a few — a UEM approach prohibits offering the seamless, modern experience IT and users need to be productive.
During Microsoft Ignite 2019, Brad Anderson, corporate vice president at Microsoft, preached co-management — a method of moving to modern management by leveraging the best solution for the OS ecosystem. Enterprises are achieving this through partnerships like Jamf and Microsoft, which allow for consolidated inventory of Microsoft and Apple devices, while still leveraging ecosystem-specific solutions.
With Microsoft rebranding their management solutions to Microsoft Endpoint Manager, Microsoft “envisions that co-management is not simply part of the customer journey, but rather will be a destination for many organizations.” While Microsoft’s vision is specific to its own management ecosystem, the principles apply to all ecosystems, including both Google and Apple — with added emphasis on the latter due to the differentiated user experience possible with Apple.
Our stake in the ground: UEM was ambitious but misguided. Microsoft enterprise solutions are a natural extension for the Windows ecosystem. Google is investing further in their own enterprise ecosystem. And Jamf is the standard for Apple in the enterprise. There is no “best” for unified endpoints.
2. Increased focus on macOS and Apple security
Although Mac is known for its heightened security, as Mac becomes a much larger portion of the enterprise, chief information security officers are requiring an intensified focus. A recent IDC survey* indicated that 88% of current MacBook enterprise customers expect their MacBook fleet to grow in the next two years.
Statcounter, an organization that aggregates market share data based on internet page views, indicates that Apple operating systems comprised 21% of global web traffic in September 2019, up from 4% in January 2009. Apple’s gains in the U.S. have been even more significant, with Apple operating systems representing over 40% of web traffic in September 2019, compared to 33% for Windows and 21% for Android.
This increased use has led macOS security to evolve in the form of the T2 Chip. The T2 Chip is an enhanced layer of security that ships with every new Mac. This is wonderful for security, but prohibits IT from imaging Mac machines.
This move from Apple is a clear indicator that antiquated IT practices to manage Mac are coming to an end and modern workflows are required. Jamf has been in lockstep with Apple every step of the way and offers guides on migrating to better workflows.
Apple also bolstered its device security through the new Apple Endpoint Security Framework and new single sign-on extensions. In 2020, Apple continues delivering enterprise-level security features to best protect the growing number of devices hitting businesses, schools and hospitals.
With the newly launched Jamf Protect — an endpoint protection solution purpose-built for Mac — Jamf is poised to help Apple grow its expanding market share in the enterprise and redefine Mac security.
3. Mass Windows to macOS migration continues
Support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. This means Microsoft will no longer be required to put out security patches or support the operating system.
While Microsoft does offer Extended Security Updates (ESU) through January 2023, this does not provide help desk support or regular bug fixes and patches — plus ESU comes at a cost of $50 to $200 per device.
This is substantial news for the, according to Computerworld, 417,000,000 Windows 7 devices currently in the wild. Windows 7 devices account for nearly 28% of all Windows PCs.
While organizations such as Aegon and My Little Paris are already reducing their Windows PC count and moving to macOS as a direct result of Windows 7 end of life, many more will follow in 2020. Aegon said their Mac count went up 22% this year and 104% over the past two, as users were choosing to migrate to macOS as opposed to upgrade to Windows 10.
I recently sat down with CRN and said I believed Mac will match Windows market share in the enterprise within 10 years. The reason I’m confident in this prediction is because we are already seeing it happen.
Apple is gaining steam in enterprises around the world due to choice programs. In fact, when given a choice between a Mac, 72 percent of employees will choose a Mac over a PC. And organizations should be thrilled by this stat. When users are given their preferred device, they are more productive, creative and collaborative. Plus, organizations save anywhere from $243 to $543 per Mac compared to a PC.
If that’s not enough, 77 percent of employees will choose or stay at a company if given a choice in work technology. Staggering savings simply by offering choice when you factor in the cost of employee turnover, loss of company knowledge and disruption of customer service with each and every exit.
Organizations that want to empower users, save money and retain top talent will continue to migrate to Mac in 2020 and beyond. And I’m not alone in this prediction as IDC data* says enterprise IT decision makers expect 13% of their current Windows 7 fleet be replaced with MacBook.
4. Apple Watch continues its march to independence
Healthcare, field services, teachers, you name it; if a user uses their hands for work while depending upon real-time information and notifications, they can benefit from an Apple Watch. And when Apple Watch becomes completely untethered from iPhone — which I believe it will — the use cases for this groundbreaking device will explode.
Pair that with the ability to (eventually) manage watchOS to ensure device privacy, security and compliance, and a better world opens for all of us.
Through watchOS management, healthcare providers could use the Apple Watch in single-app mode with a solution designed for their work, ensuring delivery of critical information all while keeping their hands free to care for people. Doctors could send patients home with an Apple Watch, and from there, maintain a secure and continuous connection with them. This would drastically cutdown on healthcare costs for patients and the hospital, while still delivering the best possible care.
Apple Watches could be deployed to field workers in lieu of an iPhone, allowing them a hands-free, connected experience with the office, clients and each other.
As long as the Apple Watch stays tethered to the iPhone, watchOS management is likely not on the horizon. But once it does become independent, anything can happen. And just as Apple did with tvOS a few years ago, adding management capabilities to watchOS opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
In closing, a new calendar always brings new technology initiatives. And at Jamf, we’re prepared to embrace them and make it easy for you to as well.
*IDC's 2019 U.S. Commercial PCD Survey: Notebook Results, Doc # US45634019, November 2019