Fueling employee success with tech
As one of the world’s leading travel search sites, Skyscanner connects 80 million monthly visitors with the best available prices on flights, hotels and car rentals - easily and affordably getting travelers where they need to go. Since 2003, the company has seen huge growth and an expansion to 11 offices worldwide. With products available in more than 30 languages and 70 currencies, Skyscanner continues to introduce people to the world around them though the ease of travel.
While the company continues to guide users to global exploration through a few clicks, inside company walls, they shift their focus to Skyscanner’s 1,200 employees. Through the offer of device choice, Skyscanner encourages their global workforce to select the technology that best accommodates their work style and comfort level. They believe this allows employees to truly do the best work of their lives.
Experiencing the results of offering choice
In the summer of 2014, Skyscanner’s graphic design team had the company’s only Apple devices - eight MacBook laptops. At the same time, some of the engineering teams found Windows devices didn’t quite fit their needs, necessitating a change. In an effort to increase productivity and eliminate unnecessary frustrations, the engineers began piloting Mac laptops. But they weren’t the only ones who cared about the potential switch to Apple devices.
Company recruiters started hearing more and more questions from candidates around Skyscanner’s device offerings. “Many candidates have a strong preference for Apple devices, so we make sure they’re aware of this offering early in the recruitment process,” said Mairi Fernandez-Arez, senior talent acquisition manager, Skyscanner. And that offering made an impact.
Kevin Field, senior systems engineer, Skyscanner, said the trend toward Apple led to conversations with IT around how to effectively tackle what could shift the company further from Windows and closer to Mac. With senior leaders quickly on board, Field said it didn’t take long to see they made the right choice.
Shortly thereafter, Skyscanner saw a mass influx of Mac laptops that subsequently left IT without a scalable management solution. That’s when they found Jamf. “Prior to Jamf, we had literally nothing,” Field said. “We were plugging into a system that we used for Windows, but it wasn’t great for Macs at all. It wasn’t scalable. We needed something that was going to improve and make our lives so much easier for Mac management.”
“I think it’s now an expectation that people working in the tech industry expect to have the option to work on a Mac.”
Mairi Fernandez-Arez, senior talent acquisition manager, Skyscanner
“Jamf Cloud is the easiest way to put in place an industry standard MDM solution that’s 100 percent focused on the Apple ecosystem...”
Ricard Tolosa, Mac Services Squad lead, Skyscanner
Transitioning to Jamf Cloud
After purchasing Jamf in the summer of 2016, Field said they decided to maintain an on-premises deployment. They ran Jamf on a Mac mini, knowing they needed to find a scalable solution. They then built Jamf into Linux boxes that ran distribution points within each office. But after a couple years, they also determined this wasn’t the optimal setup. Once again, Skyscanner’s IT team reevaluated their options.
Myra Fulton, director, Engineering, Skyscanner, said that’s when they completed a cost analysis around building their own solution, versus moving to Jamf Cloud. The extensive evaluation included answering questions around scalability, security, flexibility and overall costs. In the end - they determined Jamf Cloud MDM was their best management solution. “Cloud is very much our way forward as we look at what’s the right technology for us as a business,” Fulton said.
The company’s Mac Services Squad lead, Ricard Tolosa, agreed saying, “Jamf Cloud is the easiest way to put in place an industry standard MDM solution that’s 100 percent focused on the Apple ecosystem without the burden of having to maintain backups, security updates, database conversions, etc. Our team can now spend all that recovered time on improvements and new features for users.” Skyscanner now manages more than 900 Macs in Jamf Cloud.
Empowering users to Self Service
In addition to the cost benefits, Fulton said arming Skyscanner employees with the ability to solve many of their computer problems without IT was another reason to move to the cloud. Fulton said using Jamf Self Service to empower employees to be self sufficient is a benefit for both the staff and her team.
“The functionality we can build into Self Service is really vital. It allows us to really customize what we want to do for our organization,” Fulton said. “Jamf Self Service allows us to put our team right in the center of everything we do. It allows us to build out all these great tools.” And it’s making a difference.
Crediting both the intuitive nature of Apple, and the overall versatility of Jamf Self Service, Skyscanner’s IT team said they now see employees who previously opened one or two support cases per day drop to one case per month with their Mac. “People can go in and get what they need to do their job,” Fulton said.
Looking for the future
Skyscanner’s IT team deployed 160 Macs to their global workforce in one week’s time - something Fulton said wasn’t possible without Jamf. “The journey for a short period of time has been quite phenomenal,” she said. Now they’re looking to expand their offering to iOS - another way to ensure every employee has the right tool for the right job.
“It’s the case of doing exactly what we’ve done with the Macs to our iOS devices,” she said. Fulton anticipates they will use zero-touch deployment to cover an additional 400 devices, which will include a mixture of iPhone and iPad devices. She added, “It just makes sense to have them all in one location.” Even still, Fulton said, the focus remains on the ease of use for the end user. Now, and into the future, the Skyscanner workforce remains at the center of the company’s technology initiatives.
“We should all be considered as individuals by our employer. And as individuals, we have different levels of comfort in using different devices. Joining Skyscanner means you need to learn a huge amount of complex information to get up to speed. If you are able to choose the tool that best supports your preferred learning methods, it’s something less to worry about,” Fernandez-Arez said. “It’s good for people to own their technology, and it’s their right to set themselves up for success in this area. It’s one small addition to our culture of flexibility.”
Jamf is more than an industry standard.
It’s a community of people that work together to help each other succeed with Apple. The NoMAD acquisition and Microsoft integrations are proof that Jamf listens to users and isn’t afraid to take risks to provide Mac admins with the tools we need to step up our game.
Ricard Tolosa, Mac Services Squad lead, Skyscanner