Oxford University - Oxford, England case study

Oxford University

Providing a superior education

As one of the world’s pre-eminent universities, Oxford University maintains exceptionally high standards for its students’ education. Part of providing that experience means keeping the oldest university in the English- speaking world on the cutting edge. The recent and continuing growth in the use of Macs in Oxford means supporting these machines has become a priority.

According to James Partridge, the Oxford University Computing Services’ Mac Specialist, “We have to be able to provide the infrastructure for student and staff Macs, and you can’t do that kind of thing just by going around with a firewire drive. It’s not going to work.”

“I wish our software would do that”

James also had to find a way to manage the complexity of his environment.

“Our university has a highly devolved environment: some colleges or departments will only have a handful of Macs, others have quite large deployments,” he said.

In order to get up to speed, and provide the machines and support that would keep up with the increasing demands, he turned to the Casper Suite.

“It’s safe to say, I really don’t know how we would have done it without the Casper Suite,” said James. “There was no other product that we looked at that could come close to supporting our needs.” 

Of course, James had to make the case for separate Mac client management software, as opposed to Windows software with a Mac component.

“It was very easy with the Casper Suite to say, ‘this is native to the platform, it’s designed for the platform, it’s designed with an understanding of the platform,’” said James.

He also found that a quick demo was enough to win over his department. “The reaction internally from some of my Windows colleagues was, ‘I wish our software would do that.’”

An intuitive experience

James found that he and his department were able to get up to speed quickly once the Casper Suite was installed.

“In just six months we’ve been able to get to a production level supported service,” he said. “That includes learning how to use the Casper Suite ourselves, training, and deploying it within Computing Services.”

He credits the JAMF Software team for creating a product that was built with his needs in mind.

“It is so obviously a product that has evolved on the basis of real experience, rather than a product that has been designed in a lab, on the basis of perceived need.”

He has also found that getting the Casper Suite set up has been very easy.

“It’s such an Apple way of thinking. You can press the ‘set up now’ button, and go off and get a cup of tea,” said James. “For people like myself who’ve had to struggle through hours of fiddling with poorly documented software—it’s absolutely just a joy.” 

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