Zero-Touch Helps Tech Leader Keep Pace with Acquisitions

Company: Planview
Location: Austin, TX / Remote
Industry: Computer Software
Devices: 217

Challenges

  • Fast-growing device count
  • Multiplatform environment

Solutions

  • Zero-touch deployments, Liftoff, single sign-on authentication
  • Apple-specific management solution

The Challenges: Rapid Growth, Mixed Environment

When Dennis King started working in Planview’s IT department in 2016, the company—which provides project management and automation services for some 4000 customers worldwide and is in Gartner's 2021 Magic Quadrant for enterprise agile planning tools—had about 600 employees. The headcount is now north of 1300. Much of that growth has come through mergers and acquisitions; one recent deal added 400-plus employees in one fell swoop.

For the IT team, each such deal means onboarding new users and enrolling new devices. Adding to the management challenge: Planview’s is a mixed environment—roughly 35 percent of the devices in use are Apple, the rest run on Microsoft.

“Things would just fail, users had issues we couldn’t fix, and it was difficult to get good support.”

Unfortunately, the device-management solution they were using to manage those Apple devices wasn’t helping as much as they’d have liked. “It was just headaches day after day,” says Dennis King, who is now Planview's corporate IT manager. “Things would just fail, users had issues we couldn’t fix, and it was difficult to get good support.”

One alternative: Move the management of Apple devices to the solution they used for Windows, which was cross-platform and had helped them achieve completely zero-touch deployments for their Windows devices—particularly handy with all those new employees coming onboard.

But that solution couldn’t do the same for Apple devices, and it wasn't particularly easy for admins or friendly for end-users. Frustration with that management platform led Planview’s IT staff to look around for an Apple-specific alternative. After they’d tried several alternatives, that search eventually led them to Kandji.

The Solution: Zero-Touch, Apple-Specific Tools

The first impression was Kandji’s ease of use. “Something that took me three months to set up with the previous platform took me about a week and a half” in Kandji, King says.

Kandji’s ease of use and integration with Apple Business Manager also meant cleaner onboarding for those incoming Apple users. “We’ve achieved zero-touch deployments for all Mac devices,” King says. Kandji also did things the old tool didn't, such as deploying third-party apps and giving admins an intuitive, logical interface.

“Something that took me three months to set up with the previous platform took me about a week and a half in Kandji.”

King knows his Apple users—especially on the developer teams—can be more resistant to having their devices managed than their Windows counterparts. The keys to overcoming that and other frictions, he says: Communication and consolidation.

“We have to really communicate about the process: when a reboot's happening, the apps that will be installed or replaced, the policies that will be enforced.”
The Kandji agent helps with that communication, alerting users to upcoming software updates.

Planview also takes care to consolidate updates that require reboots. “If a reboot is going to happen for a given policy, and we also want to enable FileVault, we’ll bundle them together in one update so we're not requiring multiple reboots.”

And as for the frustrations they’d experienced deploying and patching apps, Kandji solved that too. “Installing a custom app is literally as easy as clicking a few buttons and uploading the file.”

“It all just works, ten out of ten times.”

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