In the first Jamf Breakfast Club episode focused on higher education, we discuss the IT unification project undertaken at Texas A & M University with Jon Griffey, Director for Unified Endpoint Management and Stephen L. Johnson, IT Manager for Unified Apple Device Management.
Griffey and Johnson share the journey they’ve taken to unify the university’s IT operations and consolidate Apple device management with Jamf.
Out of many one: unifying distributed operations
Texas A & M is the largest public university in the country, serving over 75,000 students and 10,000 faculty and staff on campuses across the state of Texas and the world.
Griffey’s IT team is responsible for the workstation endpoints on the main campus in College Station, Texas as well as the school of law in Fort Worth and eight other campuses state-wide, managing about 7,500 Apple devices and 45,000 Windows workstations.
The unification project at Texas A & M started as a university-wide strategic effort to consolidate operations, from facilities to human resources and IT.
For IT, this began by unifying all of IT into a single organization, the Division of Technology Services. Under this new model of support, they needed to figure out how best to unify Apple device management.
“We looked at our campus and having a history of distributed IT across campus, each group doing their own thing and doing their best to manage their devices, and we realized that unification was inevitable,” says Griffey. “We really needed to get the support and the funding to just go forth and do it.”
As the central IT organization on campus responsible for enterprise IT, Griffey’s team already used Jamf as their Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform. With the decision to unify, it made sense to build on that relationship.
In the beginning, they discovered there were 18 different Jamf instances across campus. The redundancies in work, effort and tooling were apparent. The goal: unifying management for a consistent Apple device experience.
The solution: a single Jamf unified instance, supported with an investment in Jamf Pro Premium Cloud, Connect and Protect, built in a single environment to manage all devices.
“The ecosystem of tools was critical to us because we wanted to not only consolidate everything, but to reimagine what device management looked like. We wanted to make it better,” says Griffey.
The challenge: How to migrate off the old instances to the new one, at scale. The answer: custom migration workflows, and as much automation as possible.
Team work makes the dream work
One of the keys to their successful migration was developing an early adoption program. “We wanted to have representatives from a cross-section of faculty, administrators, researchers, IT professionals from all of the college and business units,” says Johnson.
“The idea was to engage campus members who were willing to give us honest feedback so that we could modify the workflows before rolling it out to the rest of the campus and make sure that it was a smooth experience for everybody involved.”
Additional factors figuring in their success journey included:
- Internal assessments to identify both duplication of efforts and specificity of needs
- Jamf training – cohorts hosted on-campus for training and certification
- Communication and connection with the SecOps teams
- Planning for the security of sensitive data and device protection
Watch the full episode for a deeper dive into how their efforts streamlined the project and resulted in significant benefits in terms of consistency, efficiency and security.
Watch the full episode to learn more.
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