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Mac Management: Changing Notepads for iPads

Being a part of a college that has been around since 1693 means that there are portions of the campus which are old. These parts give charm and character to the William & Mary community, but sometimes they need repairs. Whether in the dorms, academic buildings, or facilities, pipes can break, light bulbs need to be replaced, or wiring needs to be updated.

Whenever something needs to be fixed, it needs an accompanying work order. Previously, such work orders had to be printed and filed. Until this past year, about 80% of work orders were being printed for hard copies, easily using over a 1,000 pieces of paper monthly.

Under the old system, Facilities Management was easily printing over 1,000 pages monthly.

“Tradesmen were printing work orders which they annotated. They then had to spend time returning to the shop to fill out timesheets and upload their annotations. Not including lost or multiple copies, we were using a lot of paper for printing work orders. Additionally, we were using gas on parts pickup and unnecessary travel between jobs,” said Associate Director of Work Control, Gerald Kinney.

An option to improve efficiency was to use iPads to process work orders, but there were inherent security risks associated with using Apple products. “iPads are good for a home system or home sharing networks because they allow collaboration. Yet that very same collaborative aspect of the tool becomes a security risk when brought into a corporate or higher education environment” said Window Systems Engineer Carlo Primero.

Not only do Apple products, like the iPads, require personal identification when users create an account, but they also request a credit card be connected to the account in order to make purchases from the App store.

That was, until Jamf was introduced to campus.Jamf, also known as Mac management, is a macOS & iOS management framework.

Jamf, also known as Mac management, is a macOS & iOS management framework. The software is used throughout various academic institutions, but has the largest market among corporations and higher education. In fact, Jamf is becoming an industry standard and by bringing Jamf to campus, W&M joins other universities in Virginia using the program. With Jamf, campus employees can bypass the need for personally identifiable information when using Apple devices.

Additionally, the software enables a central campus administrator to check college-owned Apple devices and ensure they comply with W&M security requirements without disruptions to everyday use. Jamf allows remote support and implementation of updated software and services to all college-owned Apple devices on campus. “We are just skimming the surface of what Jamf can do,” said Primero

So when Facilities Management wanted to streamline their workflow procedures, and purchase 70 iPads for processing work orders, IT had the system for it.

“With Jamf, we created an iPad experience that’s tailored for the work environment. People using these iPads have all the IT services available to them in one place, which is managed in an App store,” Primero explains.

Using Green Fee funding, Facilities Management, with the help of IT, has transitioned to using iPads. The iPads enable quick access to records and easier swipe access than with a laptop or surface. After going through a training on how to use the iPads, tradesmen were assigned an iPad. Each iPad can be used to open FAMIS, the facilities computerized maintenance management system, in real time and complete work orders.

“With the iPads, we are able to achieve parts of our mission and vision in regards to efficiency and modernization,” said Kinney. “For example, one plumber can now do everything via the iPad. They can eventually order straight from the warehouse and keep working, which not only saves paper but also gas for unnecessary trips.”

Once Jamf was installed onto the iPads, Facilities Management was ready to start filing work orders remotely. Pictured is Facilities Management's Associate Director for Building Services Andrew Gilstrap showing the home screen for work order processing.The iPads are anticipated to reduce paper usage, lost manpower, and even carbon emissions. With a simple swipe, Facilities Management projects reductions of 80 boxes of copy paper, 2,255 lost work hours, and 3.6 metric tons of carbon emissions a year. Later, Facilities Management will explore additional purchases of iPads for other parts of the campus.

This example in Facilities Management showcases Jamf’s capabilities. Currently, Mac management is still in the testing phase. “Our primary goal is to not only secure Macs on campus, but to also cause little to no disruption in work flow. This is why a large amount of the testing phase involves building Jamf to work with various existing settings and configurations.”

Nonetheless, Jamf has already been incorporated into all Swem Media Center Macs and various Mac’s within Campus Center. Eventually, Mac management will be integrated into all college-owned Mac desktops and laptops across campus. All new Apple computers will also be programmed with Jamf which will help manage updates and security patches (much like the Dell PCs/laptops are currently managed).

And as the number of Apple products used by campus increases, Jamf will continue to protect the security of campus and its employees.