AppleCare For Enterprise – What Can You Expect?

6 Nov

Piggy backing off of our post from last week about the IBM and Apple partnership today we’ll discuss the newly unveiled AppleCare for Enterprise. If you remember, Apple and IBM partnered to construct a new approach to Big Data in an increasingly mobile world. Many questions lingered as to how, and who, would be offering support for the new apps developed by IBM and how device support and care would be handled. Those questions have now been answered.

When Apple and IBM announced their partnership in July, many IT departments across the enterprise space breathed a sigh of relief. For years since the iPhone and iPad’s introduction IT departments have struggled finding ways to implement the popular devices into their scope. Compatibility and security concerns were the primary reasons why. BlackBerry had been the king of the enterprise arena, consistently warding off competitors with a beloved easy-to-use and solidly secure platform. It’s now safe to say that the iOS, and many Android devices for that matter, have supplanted BlackBerry as the device of choice, regardless of what a company’s IT department would like. This shift in preference has shaken up the technology landscape in a big way leading to one of the most powerful partnerships in recent memory. Couple this with the fast rise of Big Data platforms and a need to visualize data while on the go and you have a recipe for big things.

This is all great news, of course, however those excited about the prospects of IBM apps on iOS devices helping the enterprise landscape also had questions about implementation and support. How can we implement these new devices and apps into our company seamlessly? What if we have a problem, who will help us? These are valid questions indeed; and ones that were answered recently by Apple with the introduction of AppleCare for Enterprise.

Most iOS users are familiar with AppleCare in one way, shape, or form. But the consumer level support would not be sufficient for enterprises. The new AppleCare for Enterprise encompasses the following:

IT-level Support & Coverage

Apple describes this as:

“..integrated support and service you can’t get anywhere else. You’ll get IT department–level support by phone or email for all Apple hardware and software. We’ll provide support for complex deployment and integration scenarios, including MDM and Active Directory. And if you need help with IBM MobileFirst for iOS apps, we’ll help troubleshoot your solution and work with IBM to get your issue resolved.”

Apple states that because it is the manufacturer of the devices and often the developer of the applications it will provide high-level support for both. A novel idea indeed. AppleCare for Enterprise allows for up to six IT department contacts that can reach out to Apple for support, with additional contacts allowed to be added for an additional fee. Response times for support are also top-notch, including a one hour response time for critical issues and overall 24/7 support.

Personal AppleCare Account Manager

An AppleCare Account Manager will be assigned to each account. This person acts as your personal “liaison” before implementation and during your time as a client. The Account Manager will assist with IT infrastructure questions, track issues, and provide monthly reports of support. This is especially helpful as an Account Manager can become intimately familiar with each client they manage, rather than calling in to a random or different person each time.

Onsite Service

Not everything can be done online or over the phone. Sometimes we need an actual person to come out and help us. This is described by apple as having:

“..the option to get onsite service coverage for two or three years from the date of your hardware purchase. If you have a hardware issue during that time, AppleCare for Enterprise will help get you back up and running quickly. IBM’s Global Technology Services, a worldwide Apple Authorized Service Provider, will provide onsite service within the next business day.”

There is also an option to apply for the AppleCare iOS Direct Service Program if you want to replace hardware without waiting for a technician.

Device Replacement

Things happen, sometimes mistakes are made, we’re not all perfect with our device. Sometimes they fall out of our pocket, get coffee spilled on them, or are left in the backseat of the cab on the way to the airport. Whatever the case the Device Replacement from AppleCare for Enterprise allows organizations to replace up to 10% of their iOS devices with an equivalent device. This normally occurs within a business day.

So, what should we make of all this? Same day support, device replacement, and personal account managers is nothing new to enterprises. However, the quality of the service is what separates the good from the great. Time will tell whether or not Apple and IBM will be able to handle the customer demand and provide high-quality support for their devices and apps. This is one of the most exciting developments in recent years for enterprise IT, and will hopefully help mitigate some of the issues IT departments have had with iOS devices in recent times. iOS device usage shows no signs of slowing down and this new partnership looks to be the perfect antidote to the fears of IT departments in the past.