As today’s tech-savvy employees choose their own devices and applications at work, business mobility is ushering in the age of the digital workspace. The digital workspace is one that is consumer-simple and enterprise-secure. The likes of video conferencing, enterprise social media solutions, and instant messaging can encourage collaboration amongst employees, which in turn improves productivity. But the benefits of a digital workplace stretch far wider than this – as found in VMware’s State of Digital Workplace report, which surveyed 1,200 business and IT decision makers globally. More than half of respondents that have transformed their digital workspaces could see improvements in mobile workforce effectiveness, user access in mission-critical applications, and in user satisfaction with IT.
A multitude of operational and security challenges arise in delivering the technology and workspace experience today’s workers demand. We’ve seen major advancements in equipping people with the tools to help them become happier and more productive employees, but BYOD can create headaches for the IT department.
Like most programmes for change that involve technology, a big obstacle to adoption is security. Digital workplaces are no different – with research by VMware revealing that 43% of EMEA business and IT leaders cited security concerns as the top barrier. Securing and having oversight across all of these applications and devices can be overwhelming, and IT teams are feeling the pressure to improve customer experience and keep the business secure.
At DB Systel GmbH, this is something we experienced with our own customers at Deutsche Bahn. We’re responsible for managing the IT infrastructure and applications for the second largest transport company in the world: a rail network that transports over two billion passengers every year. With such a diverse workforce, consisting of office workers, maintenance teams and train drivers, we have to manage a wide range of needs and requirements for mobile device and application management.
Addressing varying customer needs
The current legacy infrastructure couldn’t keep up with our customers’ demands, with the helpdesk being inundated with requests and speed of deployment an ongoing issue. It reached the stage where we were managing over 70,000 separate Android and iOS devices. This created a cause for concern as the business was being put at risk from multiple points of entry for attackers to strike.
Restricting employees’ choices wasn’t an option and it was vital to avoid damaging the internal customer experience. We decided that a unified enterprise mobility management solution would be crucial to regain control of security and maintain customer freedom. After benchmarking various products on the market, we selected VMware AirWatch to support Deutsche Bahn’s company-wide strategic mobility program.
Improving access management for the end-user
Staff at Deutsche Bahn work predominantly with their own apps and users require these apps to be securely deployed across all their devices. With the new management solution, the applications required one single point of entry via a gateway service with per app VPN for access.
With the legacy system, one of our B subsidiaries incurred costs of up to $30,000 per app per year on a proxy service for deploying the apps across each device. Now our customers can work remotely and simply update applications on their devices with ease, allowing them to perform their roles more efficiently. The cost savings for our customer per application were over 75 per cent with improved user experience to match.
Our IT admins are now also able to maintain full control of applications if the device became lost or stolen, managing access and keeping the business secure. With this increased security, our employees are enjoying the flexibility and freedom of working in the way that best suits their needs.
Speeding up deployment
Deployment speeds were a major factor in the decision to implement our new solution. Installation of the unified management system across the network involved scanning a simple QR code. In the first phase of the deployment over 700 devices were set up each day, keeping disruption to a minimum. In addition, setting up new staff on an ad-hoc basis takes only an hour without the need for additional IT support.
This efficient deployment, coupled with improved access for our customers, resulted in a reduction of calls to the helpdesk from 2100 per month to fewer than 210. No one wants to spend their time waiting for assistance and incurring delays to their working day. Fewer resources are wasted, enabling the IT team to focus on delivering further digital transformation across Deutsche Bahn.
Following on from the success of implementing the new infrastructure, our IT team is considering further ways to improve user experience for customers. Centralised management for Windows 10 is currently being developed as well as ‘no touch admin’ to further reduce the number of support tickets.
Freedom within a controlled environment
The role of the IT team is changing and securing mobile solutions is freeing up time to innovate and bring new solutions and applications for the end-user. Encouraging greater freedom within a controlled environment improves the user experience not just in the day-to-day but also for long-term digital transformation.
Developing a partnership with a vendor is very important to achieving your enterprise mobility and digital transformation objectives. This partnership should be built on regular engagement with the solutions provider to make sure they understand your mandate and to help support your organisational objectives. Capabilities offered by a mobility solution are also important to consider. You should look not only at capabilities that would be enabling you now, but also those that would support you in further maturing your business mobility and digital transformation practices in the future.
By improving customer service for Deutsche Bahn, our employees were able to pass on these gains to rail passengers up and down the country. Every organisation has mobile users today - but there are many others who would be more productive if their work could move with them. Investments in business mobility can and will drive a significant return, but should be targeted to maximise impact and result.
Kai Loebig, Head of Workplace Infrastructure Management Service, DB Systel GmbH
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