We could be heroes: Empowering SMEs in media production environments

The Mac Heroes are here to save the day with the power of subject matter expertise!

In larger organizations where a central IT department usually sets up workstations, takes calls, routes tickets and manages a limited pool of field support agents, sometimes they overlook the small groups with oversized needs. These groups do really important, awesome creative work with highly specialized apps, equipment and workflows. Because central IT has to meet everyone in the middle, they aren't always equipped to deal with complex production workflow issues, or they lack the amount of time needed to do thorough troubleshooting and develop solutions. Sometimes, Macs in these environments are shared workstations with standard user accounts, where the user calling for help might not be the one who owns the Mac; they're just there for the day/week/length of the contract. In these environments, under high pressure to deliver projects and assets on time, even the smallest of issues can have a devastating impact if not resolved quickly.

Assemble the Mac Heroes: a select team of individuals who are trusted members of these small teams with subject matter expertise over their group's applications, workflows and specialized equipment. The Mac Heroes may work on-site in isolated networks or enter restricted spaces (under NDA) to support a workflow issue. If working remotely, they are only a chat message or a phone call away. This constant contact enables them to respond quickly to emergent issues. Additionally, the Heroes are acutely aware of the interactions or conflicts of their group's applications and plug-ins with each current and new release of macOS. They will need to have administrative rights to install and configure these apps and plug-ins and make changes to the system. Having close relationships with third-party vendors, the Mac Heroes are in a position to apply pressure to vendors to support the latest OS and technologies. They also have the ability to coordinate purchases and/or downloads of software resources applicable to their workflow.

Mac Heroes embrace automated deployment scenarios because they can further expedite the setup of a new Mac. They work with the existing Mac admin to ensure that software packages are available in Self Service. They will be able to install, add, change and configure specialized apps without calling central IT. They may at times expedite opening support tickets for more general issues like password resets, setting up hardware repairs, requesting access to file shares and so forth. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility: The Mac Heroes would be expected to proactively test new versions of macOS and provide feedback to Apple and the vendors. They should maintain a list of Macs with admin rights and set expectations for end users about what it means to have a managed Mac, like agreeing to regular updates, best practices and baseline security requirements for compliance.