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A few weeks ago, Apple announced a new business program: Apple Business Essentials that was designed to make it easier for business customers to deploy, manage, and secure Apple devices. After researching the program, I believe it’s going to end up fundamentally changing how small businesses use Apple products.
MDM for everyone
There is no shortage of mobile device management vendors. Still, Apple offering a first-party solution that’s integrated into Apple Business Manager will make it easier to get started with device management for small businesses.
I believe it’ll ultimately lead to companies looking for dedicated vendors in the future and seeking more specialized solutions.
Apple said that ABE is designed for businesses up to 500 people, but I believe much smaller organizations use it. So what I see happening is that as a small business starts buying Apple products, they’ll get onboarded into Apple’s new MDM and set up a device management process from the beginning.
Onsite repairs solve critical remote work problems
The most important aspect of Apple Business Essentials is solving the device repair problems for remote organizations. I’ve discussed this problem at length since the pandemic began and remote work became a permanent reality. At launch, this service is going only to include iOS devices, but I expect Macs to soon be covered.
For remote organizations who rely on iOS devices, AppleCare+ for Business Essentials will be a must-have in my opinion.
A new AppleCare+ for Business Essentials option adds on 24/7 phone support for both IT teams and end-users, and up to two device repairs per plan each year. End users can initiate repairs directly from the new Apple Business Essentials app, and an Apple-trained technician will come onsite in as little as four hours to repair devices. AppleCare+ for Business Essentials is not available during the free beta period.
If an employee has a device hardware issue, IT can instruct them on how to initiate a repair with an Apple-trained technician that will happen during the same business day.
I’d love to see some guarantee of a working device within a certain period, even if it means an onsite swap as a loaner.
Apple hasn’t announced pricing for AppleCare+ for Business Essentials, but I believe it’ll be extremely popular for remote organizations.
Can iCloud Drive eventually replace Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive?
Apple’s enterprise offerings have generally always needed a productivity software layer on top of them, but I don’t think Apple likes that reality, though. Apple has always wanted to own the entire experience.
With the storage increases built into Apple Business Essentials, I believe iCloud Drive can become an enterprise file management solution. Apple will need to build in audit tools, recovery options, and centralized shared folders to reach that goal.
Can Apple Business Essentials continue to scale?
As I said initially, the service is designed for businesses of up to 500 people. Obviously, a business of that size is no longer a small business. However, I believe this service is the first iteration of a long-term plan to have end-to-end enterprise solutions designed for businesses of all sizes.
I’m excited about the built-in MDM solution so more businesses can secure their entire fleet. The onsite repair options solve a vital problem with remote work enterprises. In addition, the included 24/7 phone support options can help create the first line of defense for IT help desks for initial Mac and iOS troubleshooting.
For businesses deploying Apple products, this service is certainly something to watch, and I think it’s going to be very popular.
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