Re-evaluate UEM ROI for a brighter 2024.

Why do specialized solutions outperform one-size-fits-all approaches? And why does it matter in challenging economic times? Read on to find out.

December 14 2023 by

Veronica Batista

A camera focus symbol zeroes in on an apple.

It’s been a rough year.

December is here, and I think it’s safe to say we’re all ready for the promises of a new year. As 2023 winds down, we're all reflecting on a year that's tested our resilience and adaptability — particularly in how we manage technology in challenging economic times.

A close look at investments

Evaluate Unified Endpoint Management (UEM).

This year has been a wake-up call for organizations worldwide, who should take a hard look at their tech investments and management strategies. Companies and schools are carefully examining their budgets for ways to cut costs and redundancies while getting the most out of what they already have.

One of the key decisions tech leaders must make is between a specialized device management and security tool versus a one-size-fits-all approach, such as that of Unified Endpoint Management (UEM). While upfront costs may seem like the most significant factor in a challenging economic environment, savvy IT and security buyers understand that the true measure of success lies in the return on investment (ROI) over the long term.

Taking stock

To improve tech stack efficiency while balancing costs, here are three areas to consider.

1. Focus on long-term ROI.

It’s normal to be cost-conscious, especially when times are tough. But a focus on short-term upfront costs can be a mistake.

Consider all the costs.

It's important to weigh those costs against long-term ROI for your IT and security teams, the impact on your end users, your overall security posture and of course your bottom line. Look for tools with proven success in increasing productivity, and take into consideration how that translates into cost savings.

Specialized solutions may appear to have a higher upfront cost, but not in the long run. Many customers have shared their higher ROI from using Jamf, a specialized management and security tool for the Apple platform.

Organizational savings

Fletcher Previn, CIO at Cisco, recently shared at the 2023 Jamf Nation User Conference that sales teams using Mac outperform their PC counterparts with a:

  • 9.8% increase in deal creation
  • 10.9% surge in bookings
  • 9.9% acceleration of deal closure

Additionally, software engineers push out nearly 11.5% more code when using a Mac.

Don't forget the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)! (While Mac’s higher upfront cost is a concern for organizations when allocating employee devices, Cisco found that Mac was, in fact, $148-$395 less expensive over three years: a lower TCO.)

A study by Hobson and Company shows that a specialized solution like Jamf can help your IT teams reduce time spent on help desk tickets, app management, device provisioning and deployment, ongoing management, and remediating incidents and vulnerabilities by 70-90%. That is quite the ROI in itself!

2. Avoid UEM cost-savings misconceptions

One tool to manage all devices seems like it would be more cost-effective, but the reality is nuanced.

The problem with UEM

Because UEM has so many platforms to manage, UEM products usually either prioritize one platform — such as Windows or Android — or they end up catering to the least common denominator across all the platforms.

This will leave your teams resorting to third-party tools to fill UEM holes, which leads to hidden costs. These include:

  • Buying separate software-patching products
  • Finding additional inventory-reporting and analytics solutions
  • Needing a solution if you want to use advanced macOS workflows like privilege elevation control
  • Paying for the design of onboarding screens to improve the end-user experience

Some of these tools come at an additional license cost.

While there are excellent open-source tools available that can be used with both UEM and specialized solutions, they are just one more thing to juggle. UEM product gaps make the extra work of using or integrating these tools necessary. And they require more time to implement and support, especially if they’re being used broadly as opposed to in niche scenarios. Specialized solutions have in-built native tools that accomplish the same thing.

Specialization: a better experience

Specialized vendors have built their frameworks around Apple native technology, making them more agile to support Apple as they innovate on their MDM framework.

Analyst firms are starting to acknowledge that specialization provides a better experience; companies see returns in productivity gains.

IDC named Jamf a leader in their IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Unified Endpoint Management Software for Apple Devices 2021 Vendor Assessment, partly based on the "singular focus on Apple products." Analysts like Frost & Sullivan recently recognized Jamf’s Apple-specific approach on their leaderboards. They cite Jamf as the ‘Company to Action’ as “the only vendor in the endpoint security market developing ‘Apple-first’ solutions.”

3. Understand the total cost of a security breach.

Security breaches can be financially devastating: according to IBM, the average cost of a security breach is $4.45 million.

This outweighs any perceived cost savings from a unified approach, as specialized tools are crafted to address platform-specific vulnerabilities.

If you use Apple products, this expertise and focus is incredibly important. Each year, attacks against macOS and iOS increase in frequency and sophistication. A specialized approach reduces the risk of breaches and the associated financial fallout.

A sharp contrast

Consider this:

  • A 2022 study by Forrester shows a savings of $18 per user per year* as a result of reduced breach risk with a Microsoft 365 E3 subscription that includes their UEM tool Microsoft Intune.
  • Hobson and Company reports a savings of $335 per user per year** as a result of the reduced breach risk of a specialized tool like Jamf.

Protect yourself with swiftness

Test the efficacy of framework speed to make sure your devices are applying compliance requirements without delay; time is of the essence in preventing breaches. Specialized tools have more frequent check-in periods for the operating systems they support, which shrinks the attack window.

Then, make sure you test the active audit and remediation capabilities of any tool you use. Your auditing features should include custom attributes to identify if any user or bad actor has disabled compliance controls. The remediation workflow should be automated based on the reporting from those custom attributes. If a device fails a compliance audit, you shouldn’t have to respond manually; your tools should be doing that for you.

Unforeseen costs: case in point

Broadcom’s recent acquisition of VMware adds another layer of complexity to cost considerations. Organizations that have invested in Workspace ONE UEM are now faced with the uncertainties of potential costs associated with instability, support challenges and the need for additional security measures.

Broadcom has decided to divest their End-User Computing offering, which includes Workspace ONE, as well as Carbon Black, their endpoint protection solution. This creates more uncertainty for those customers.

Affected organizations should take this opportunity to explore alternative options and investigate vendors that specialize by operating system.

Don’t forget to consider the available integrations that can streamline more workflows for your teams and the organization as a whole. Ask about migration services to help decrease downtime.

Key takeaways

In a challenging economic environment, strategic decision-making is paramount. As you approach 2024, take the strategic approach to balance upfront costs with long-term savings and efficiency gains.

  • Balance immediate budget constraints with long-term gains in efficiency, security and overall ROI.
  • Specialized tools prove their value over time, contributing to a positive ROI. Specialized tools offer a clear path to a more predictable and cost-effective future. They minimize hidden costs, reduce security risks and provide a tailored solution to each platform.
  • Companies that offer specialization can also act as trusted advisors to help you get the most out of your investments. They serve as the experts that you need to help guide you to more efficient end-user experiences that lead to more productive users and increase your bottom line.

* Based on a $538,141 annual savings with a 30K user base.
** Based on $167,625 annual savings with a 500 Mac user base.

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