ROLLING IT OUT
Extensive Mac Roll Out at Global Creative Company
completed 5 weeks ahead of schedule.
Our global creative client has several hundred creatives working throughout the organisation, including writers, content creators, designers and prepress. The team is a mix of office-based and remote workers, employees, and freelance contractors.
During the Covid-19 pandemic many of the creative team had followed government guidelines and worked from home. Our client could see the merits of creating a hybrid workplace (a mix of remote and office workers) to improve organisational resilience and remove geographic location as a barrier to high quality future recruitment.
When the existing lease for the Macs in the creative team came up for renewal, our client took the opportunity to make significant changes to the structure of the team and asked Conformedia to recommend an IT solution that would support flexibility, productivity and enhance organisational resilience.
The 100 plus creative team was only one part of a much larger worldwide workforce. Seamless integration with the other creative departments and the rest of the organisation was essential but complex.
The widely distributed workforce required strict configuration standards with regards to all aspects of software, fonts, and resources to ensure compatibility with all aspects of the group, regardless of location. It was essential that all creative operations had to dovetail with teams worldwide and artwork generated by a remote user in the UK could be shared not only with users within the same department, but also users throughout the UK and worldwide.
A previous rollout, provided by another supplier had been disastrous. Compatibility issues, workflow problems and overall instability caused significant delays to production that lasted for months. Some issues were never resolved, requiring workarounds to the present day. This experience resulted in our customer’s request for a cautions rollout over 2 months.
The project was carefully planned to ensure a smooth and quick transition. Several different departments needed to be accommodated and so a small number of build specifications were agreed upon.
Each specification had to be installed with a standard base build, including standard operating system version, installed applications and shared resources. Once the base build was in place, variations were created to accommodate different departments’ requirements. User environments were then designed and agreed upon and prototype MacBooks were built and provided for evaluation.
The prototype Macs were thoroughly checked by the customer and proved to be a stable build. The quality of the build gave our customer confidence, encouraging them to agree with our desired timescale for the Mac deployment, bringing the customers cautions 2 months build time down to 3 weeks.
With agreed profiles it was essential that the Macs were built with the exact specification. A combination of Apple Business Manager (ABM) with JAMF Pro provided the mechanism to auto deploy the Macs straight from the box using JAMF Pro Zero-Touch.
Profiles were created in advance using JAMF Pro, allowing each Mac to auto enrol and automatically inherit the respective departments’ profiles. Every aspect of the system and user environment was then automatically applied.
A total of 131 Apple workstations were deployed and despatched to site within a total of 8 days.
At site, upon first logon, user specific environment settings were automatically applied, including individual software customisation, server connections, Wifi settings, VPN and firewall access software. These were applied using a combination of JAMF profiles, policies, and scripts, removing this manual task from the individual user and administrator, and facilitating smooth, quick and standardised deployment.
As the Macs were deployed, each user was also given IT support and one-to-one support from a member of the Conformedia team ensuring each individual was comfortable with their new system.
The two-month rollout was quick, smooth, and completed within 3 weeks; 5 weeks ahead of the original schedule
Downtime during the transition was minimised thanks to the thorough planning, predetermined user environments and automated deployment of 121 laptops, 4 mini macs and 6 studio iMacs
The introduction of MacBook Pros facilitated a hybrid workplace for the creative teams and enabled flexible working – improving resilience of the team should they ever be prevented from working from the office or need to work from home
Compatible software and systems were identified and configured to ensure a standardised system, compatible with all users and departments worldwide
Moving forward, the systems are now in place within JAMF Pro, allowing any new Macs to be automatically deployed using JAMF Zero-Touch
Looking to the future, all the user environment settings have been left in place. Any new employees can be quickly and automatically enrolled using the same JAMF Profiles, policies, and scripts, without any input from onsite administrators