In a long awaited, highly anticipated move, Apple yesterday announced a global expansion of its Volume Purchase Program—better known as VPP—to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom. IT management within the United States has come to appreciate the ease at which VPP enables them to distribute apps to their iPhone and iPad equipped userbase.
What is VPP?
VPP was created with one goal in mind: give IT the ability to push pertinent business applications to a sizeable userbase. Organizations that have implemented a bring your own device (BYOD) program are likely taking advantage of VPP as they look to foster a productive workplace. After all, any application on the App Store can be purchased for distribution. If you have an application in mind that cannot be found on the App Store, Apple will put you in touch with a 3rd party developer that can craft a custom B2B app that meets your needs and specifications.
App distribution: where to begin
First you'll need to create a volume purchasing account with Apple. You may notice the country dropdown on the enrollment screen now includes the new countries mentioned above. Once you've created your account, it's time to decide which application/s you would like to purchase for your users in the Business Store.
After your purchase has been completed, you will be sent a VPP File, which contains VPP Codes that can be sent to users. The quantity purchased will correlate with the number of codes provided in this package. If you purchase a dozen or so, it won't be too difficult to get these applications out to your users. If you opted in to VPP to accomodate for a large userbase, the distribution process increases in degree of tediousness. Using a mobile device management (MDM) solution turns these choppy seas into smooth sailing.
How MDM can help
Not only does MDM eliminate the need for manual app distribution, it gives you the power to track provisioning, manage licenses, and monitor compliance of your userbase. In order to take advantage of VPP with MDM, you'll need to create an Apple Push Notification Certificate (or an "APNS Cert").
Apple offers the following tips for getting started:
- Contact your MDM vendor to request a signed Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Your vendor will sign a CSR and deliver it to you.
- Once you have a signed CSR from your vendor, visit identity.apple.com/pushcert and sign in with a verified Apple ID.
- Select your signed CSR and click upload. After a moment, your certificate will be available for download.
- This certificate can now be uploaded to your MDM server for use with the Apple Push Notification service.
Once you've obtained and uploaded your cert, you are ready to go. If you're ready to learn how to control corporate applications with confidence, download our complementary white paper featured below. You can click here for more information on MaaS360's mobile application management (MAM) offering.