2021 Business Benchmarks: Innovation
Innovation: Keys to success through COVID-19
Jill Putman, Chief Financial Officer, Jamf
Innovation has long been a strength of Minnesota’s economy and culture. Business has driven this trend, creating products, services and systems that change the world, all while creating jobs and a high quality of life throughout the state.
Since the onset of COVID-19, many businesses have used their expertise and products to innovate solutions into the new economy. Jamf, a Minneapolis-based company, is a great example, helping clients successfully integrate Apple products for employees and other users.
The idea for Jamf was born on a college campus, when student Zach Halmstad was charged with developing and managing hundreds of Mac systems for students and faculty. The resulting Apple Enterprise Management software is now a leading enterprise solution for more than 40,000 organizations across many industries, including health care, education and enterprise businesses.
The premise is simple. More precisely, the premise is simplicity. “This is super simple, awesome technology, helping to bring the consumer-like experience into the workplace,” says Jill Putman, Chief Financial Officer at Jamf. “More and more, that’s what employees want.” Especially as more Generation Z employees enter the workforce.
Remote work, telehealth and distance learning accelerated opportunities for Jamf in 2020. When offices were ordered to close, many employers struggled with connectivity for employees. “Along with the deployment of our solutions, customers were able to have Apple devices drop-shipped to employees’ homes and set up remotely,” says Putman. “Step one, a user opens a new MacBook, step two, they turn it on, and there is no step three.”
Before the pandemic, Jamf had technology solutions in many health care systems. “Hospitals that were employing new technology put iPads at the side of each hospital bed so that patients have access to their medical records, the room’s thermostat or their social media accounts during a hospital stay,” says Putman. But the newly-urgent demand for virtual visits and telehealth spurred more work for Jamf in the health care field.
As hybrid learning became a necessity in schools across Minnesota, Jamf stepped in with long-term solutions. Many schools have used newfound resources to invest in the technology for the coming years, to meet the current needs but also help solve preexisting challenges for years to come. “We may never have a snow day again!” says Putman.
Even with continuing economic uncertainty, the future looks rosy for Jamf and its clients. Innovation will move them into the new economy with technology solutions that continue Minnesota’s strong legacy of innovation.
Where does Minnesota rank?
Businesses have proven once again this year that innovation is a strength of Minnesota’s economy, with many pivoting their products and services to meet the demands of a COVID-19-driven economy. This highlighted how critical business is to the state’s communities. Data show that the state’s already high venture capital increased this year. The five-year survival rate is still among the best in the country, but the worsening startup activity means it’s necessary to continue to open doors and reduce barriers for new businesses in Minnesota.