reduction in Mac-related support tickets
hours a month saved on routine maintenance
Demandbase is an account-based marketing, advertising, sales intelligence and data company. It helps B2B companies hit their revenue goals using fewer resources. How? By using the power of AI to identify and engage the accounts and buying groups most likely to purchase. Demandbase combines your sales and marketing data with its validated B2B data and AI to create Account Intelligence that informs every step of your buyer’s journey. Based in San Francisco, the company also operates offices in Manhattan, Seattle, England, and India, supported by an 8 person IT team.
Before adopting Kandji, Demandbase relied on Jamf for roughly six years to manage its Apple devices. Although Jamf catered to most of Demandbase's requirements, administrative overhead became increasingly cumbersome over the years as the company expanded.
Two workflows were especially draining for the IT team: OS updates and troubleshooting device check-in.
With Jamf, the native OS update feature was unreliable enough that the team resorted to manually packaging and deploying updates. While this ensured a consistent upgrade path, it also shifted responsibility for updates onto individual employees. Many delayed these updates or never completed them, leading to a patchwork of different OS versions and a lack of standardization across the fleet.
Demandbase’s security policies require devices to be no more than two versions behind the current major release as a prerequisite for accessing sensitive data and internal systems. With no way to proactively manage those updates, however, the IT team could only enforce this standard reactively with punitive measures. They created a “noncompliant” group that they would add devices to periodically as their OS version became unsupported, which would remove access to sensitive systems. This change was often very abrupt and disruptive to the affected users, who flooded the department with support tickets. It was also not an optimal experience for the support staff, who found themselves spending more and more of their time walking frustrated users through updates rather than pursuing more rewarding and productive work, said Demandbase IT Support Engineer Manager Robby Siu.
"We’d periodically check for non-compliant devices, and we’d add them as we found them."
Sometimes that was as many as 50 devices that went out of compliance at a time, And so then every one of those employees would file a ticket because they couldn’t log in to the things they needed. All at once. It was a huge headache.Robby Sui IT Support Engineering Manager
The device check-in issue was less of a draw on resources, but still very annoying when it came up. Devices managed through Jamf could fail to check in to the MDM server for any number of reasons, which means they would stop receiving critical updates or reporting on their state.
This occurred silently and without any visibility into what was actually happening with that device. It could simply be that someone was on vacation, or it could be indicative of a larger problem, or even a security threat. Without actively monitoring for failed check-ins and manually following up on each one individually, the IT department had no way of knowing.
Demandbase’s IT department usually had to investigate a handful of failed check-ins each month with each case requiring hours or even days to fully address. Addressing a failed check-in often meant multiple cycles of back and forth communication with the end user, often at an inopportune or disruptive time. In some cases, the user would have to delete the Mobile Device Management (MDM) profile and fully re-enroll their device before it would check in—a daunting prospect for all involved.
“Any time you’re having a sales person open up the command line or run a script to solve a problem, as an IT manager, you get really nervous,” Robby said.
Looking for an MDM provider that would meet the same needs as Jamf without requiring as much overhead, Demandbase chose Kandji.
From the start, Kandji distinguished itself on user experience, integrations, and smart automation of tasks, Robby said. Many things that had to be manually configured or represented a manual workflow in Jamf could simply be toggled on in Kandji, saving the team significant amounts of time.
When I did our proof of concept, I got the initial blueprint with 90 percent of our required configuration done in 3 hours. That was a huge selling point. I even told my manager, hey, I’m already done, can you believe it?Robby Sui IT Support Engineering Manager
“I was given a month to complete it and on day two I was already enrolling devices and super happy with it.”
The team was especially impressed with the depth of its integration with Okta, which allowed Demandbase to easily assign different profiles to devices depending on the user assigned to them and their unique needs, as well as handle additional application requests through Okta and push groups in Kandji.
“That’s really nice because a lot of these applications are licensed software. And we can manage everything with Okta access requests. So if you need Adobe, you submit a request through Okta, and if the manager approves it, then the license gets applied, and you automatically get added to a push group in Kandji. Boom, it gets installed. Just like that.”
After making the choice to migrate to Kandji, the Demandbase team met with the support team to determine a plan to migrate all of their devices from Jamf and re-enroll them in the new MDM. Robby was initially worried that this would be a difficult process, but the Kandji team assured him that it would be much easier than he was anticipating.
Demandbase was able to deploy a custom Kandji MigrationAgent through Jamf that automated many parts of the unenrollment and re-enrollment process. This cut down the need for manual steps for employees—and the need for extensive instructions or one-on-one support from IT through the transition.
Demandbase did an initial test run with 10 early adopter devices, getting feedback from the users and thoroughly documenting the process. Once they were satisfied, they did a staged rollout team by team over a series of weeks. All told they were able to transition 750 devices in less than 60 days.
“There were very few issues throughout the rollout process,” Robby said, adding that only two Macs needed a more serious intervention and reset by the IT team—a 0.3 percent error rate.
“I was worried going in that it was going to be a lot of work; you know users would have to click, click, click and they’d get lost in the documentation. But that wasn’t the case at all”
“Once we got the custom migration agent from the Kandji team, it was very easy. Basically, everything just worked.”
Once the transition to Kandji was complete, Demandbase immediately noticed an improvement in all of the issues that had driven it to switch.
Robby said the team quickly found that device check-ins were much more dependable in Kandji, with far fewer failures overall. Not only that, in the rare instance a device did fail to check in, there was better information about what was happening with it. That made troubleshooting much easier. “In many cases,” Robby said, “the reason was something that IT didn’t need to concern themselves with, like a planned absence.”
Kandji is so reliable. We hardly ever have a device that falls off mysteriously now. Every single device that doesn’t check in, it’s for a good reason—a user’s on vacation, or maternity leave. It’s really night and day from where we were before.Robby Sui IT Support Engineering Manager
Managing OS updates became much more automated and streamlined in Kandji. The IT team appreciated the native functionality that allowed them to simply select a desired OS version and set an implementation deadline for the entire fleet. “As with device check-ins,” Robby said, “there was very rarely an instance where things failed silently.”
Kandji's proactive, automated approach to communication with employees about updates also came as a welcome change. Automated reminders informed staff about upcoming OS updates, and while employees had the option to delay these notifications, Kandji ensured the updates were completed once the deadline set by the IT department was reached. Not only did this obviate a lot of outreach and follow-up that IT formerly did manually, it was a much nicer experience for end users, who didn’t have to worry about their device updating at the wrong moment.
It also eliminated the need for punitive enforcement through a non-compliant group, which meant fewer support tickets from upset users.
“Updates became less of a stress point for users,” Robby said. “They no longer faced sudden loss of system access due to OS issues, and for us, the reduction in support tickets was a relief.”
New capabilities also emerged with Kandji. Using its Auto Apps feature, Demandbase was empowered to manage the 10 business applications that are installed on nearly every device. Not only did Auto Apps mean it was no longer necessary to maintain packages for deploying these apps, but the ability to keep them updated and enforce those updates without additional manual IT work was a game changer. It meant ensuring that these apps always had the latest security patches for the first time, a major win for security teams.
All of this led to a striking reduction in end-user tickets submitted to the Mac support desk. Comparing ticket volumes before and after the transition, the company realized that Jamf had generated 4 tickets for every one ticket generated by Kandji. That, coupled with new efficiencies in routine maintenance and device deployment, meant the IT department was saving 40 to 50 hours each month compared to its previous management through Jamf.
“What’s great about Kandji is it’s pretty self-sufficient. It just does the things it’s supposed to do without us having to live in the tool full time,” Robby said. “Now we pretty much only have to log in to wipe a device or if an app needs updating. My guys can spend more time focusing on closing tickets because they’re not spending all that time in Jamf.”
The move to Kandji reshaped Demandbase's operational landscape, making it more efficient, less reactive, and more in tune with user needs.Robby Sui IT Support Engineering Manager
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