What to be aware of when migrating from Apple VPP to Apple Business Manager
Recently Apple decided to transition its Volume Purchase program offering to a brand new service in the form of Apple Business Manager. Apple Business Manager combines DEP & VPP into one easy to use single portal. However, this change also brings in a new way of managing VPP accounts and if you are using VPP, it is really important to understand this before you migrate to Apple Business Manager
How Apple VPP Behaved till some time back
Till now, once an organization signed up for VPP program, it was possible to create different administrator accounts within the umbrella organization account, each linked to a different Apple ID. These accounts can be mapped by the organization according to their needs. To take an example, an organization could create one account for say its finance department and one account for sales department, or an organization could create one account for one office location and another account for different office location. This helped the organization to segregate its App purchases and assign them to different cost centers for accounting needs. However, this also meant that when the same IT organization is serving multiple departments or office locations, potentially an IT admin would need multiple Apple ID to manage these different accounts. Also, there existed no common place to view all the purchased apps across different accounts.
What has changed with Apple Business Manager?
With Apple Business Manager, the definition of an account has changed. With Apple Business manager, Apple has done away with uniquely identifying an account through an Apple ID. Instead, in Apple Business Manager, an administrator can define a unique VPP account by creating a 'Location'. Referring to the above use case, an organization can create one 'Location' for finance department and another 'Location' for the sales department. So now it is possible to segregate different departments, sites, offices, schools, etc., using "Location' instead of different administrators. It is also possible to have a single or multiple IT admins manage one or multiple 'Locations' and have a consolidated view of purchases across all the 'Locations' they are managing.
How it affects you and what you should do?
Apple is strongly recommending migration to Apple Business Manager. However one should tread cautiously. If within your organization you only had one VPP account, most probably you need not worry about anything. However, if you were using 2 accounts or more, you need to be very careful when migrating your VPP Account to Apple Business Manager. I would strongly urge you to go through migration guide published by Apple BEFORE you migrate.
If you are using ZENworks 2017 to manage your VPP program, I would recommend that you also go through our documentation before you migrate. It lists the set of steps you need to follow in ZENworks and how to troubleshoot, if things go awry. If any further questions, please do send me a message.