Apple’s Small Business Service Now Available as Subscription

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – eWEEK.

Apple’s subscription service for small businesses provides support throughout the device management life cycle, including device setup, storage, upgrades, and repairs.

Apple recently introduced the general availability of a service called Apple Business Essentials, which helps small businesses throughout the entire device management life cycle, including device setup, storage, upgrades, and repairs.

Business Essentials is now available as a subscription in the U.S., following a beta trial of the service that launched in November 2021.

Optimized For Companies With Small Or No IT Team

With Apple Business Essentials, small businesses can deploy and manage Apple products for their employees without a dedicated IT staff. In other words, anyone in a managerial role can administer Business Essentials for employees.

Small businesses can choose from flexible subscription plans that can be customized for each employee and device, with up to 2 terabytes (TB) of iCloud storage, starting at $2.99 per month.

There are also plans that include AppleCare+ for Apple Business Essentials, which start at $9.99 per month. AppleCare+ includes 24/7 phone support, training for both IT administrators and employees, and up to two free device repairs per plan annually.

When an employee requests a repair in the Apple Business Essentials app, a technician can travel onsite to fix their device. AppleCare+ credits can be used on any type of repair, whether it’s a cracked iPhone screen or a logic board for a MacBook Pro.

Simple On-Boarding

Employees can get started with Business Essentials by signing into their work account on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac using a Managed Apple ID. Once signed in, they can access the new Apple Business Essentials app and download any work tools they might need. Users will also have access to Google Workspace identity services, which will allow them to log into their device with a single business username and password.

“Technology adoption can have a huge impact on small businesses, boosting their productivity and output,” said Jeremy Butcher, enterprise and education product marketing manager at Apple. “Using technology comes with some level of effort in terms of the management and deployment of devices. We wanted to make it as easy as possible, which led us to build Business Essentials.”

Allows Rapid Delivery of Apps to Teams

A key feature included in a Business Essentials subscription is Collections, which allows groups of apps to be delivered to employees or teams. With this feature, settings – such as VPN configurations and Wi-Fi passwords – can also be automatically pushed to devices. When a user signs into a device, all the apps and settings delivered via Collections show up on their device.

Business Essentials works with both company-issued and personal devices. Employees’ personal information remains private and separate from work data with Apple’s User Enrollment feature. Business Essentials users get a dedicated iCloud work account for securely storing and backing up files/documents. Additionally, users can move between devices at work with iCloud Drive, which keeps information synced across Mac computers.

Since launching a beta of Apple Business Essentials last fall, thousands of small businesses have signed up and participated in the service. Apple has received “positive feedback across the board” from those users, said Butcher. “Some of it validating things that we knew already and some of it educating us on things that we need to improve going forward.”

Based on feedback, Apple plans to make some enhancements in Business Essentials. For instance, beta users asked for an option to install Mac apps that are not on the Mac App Store. Apple will introduce that option this summer.

Delivering Business Value Through Simplicity

Apple is often criticized for being too consumer-focused and not catering to businesses enough. That was true many years ago, but certainly not now.

Apple’s DNA is all about delivering simple experiences, which is why it has been so widely adopted by consumers of all demographics. Traditional IT vendors have often shunned ease of use in favor of delivering more features, faster. Microsoft is an excellent example of a company that has sold through the IT pro and delivered highly complex solutions that require certifications to operate. This model works in large enterprises with big IT teams but not so much in small businesses.

Apple’s Business Essentials should have strong appeal down market where they have the same technology requirements as big businesses but not the equivalent large IT resources.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.