"It’s now much quicker and easier to get data to our sales representatives, enabling them to give better advice to customers. All of this gives us a competitive edge."Dirk Runkel, Systems Planning and Operations Manager
Bausparkasse Mainz AG (BKM), a medium-sized Financial provider, has been replacing its sales representatives’ laptops with iPads and iPhones over the last few years. Security and compliance are a top priority and when the existing mobile device management (MDM) system had outlived its usefulness, it was replaced with MobileIron’s Enterprise Mobility Management solution in early 2014.
External sales representatives have an obvious need for mobile IT if they are to have access to meaningful and up-to-date information when preparing things like quotations and contracts. Like most companies’ representatives, BKM’s sales team worked with laptops and notebooks for a long time, and these were almost completely replaced with iPads a few years ago.
Since 2009, the company had been using an MDM solution to distribute a client certificate to mobile devices for authentication on the sales portal, without requiring representatives to come in and have the central IT department physically install it. When they chose a provider at that time, they mainly considered companies with which they already had relationships.
“We started looking for a new MDM solution at the end of 2012,” says system planning and operations manager Dirk Runkel. “We needed one with a wider range of functionality.” The selection process took only a few weeks, and involved consulting market surveys like Gartner MDM Quadrant and the Bluefish MDM Comparison Chart to find the best match for BKM’s needs. Several people were involved: the head of IT, who focused on aspects like costs and administrative simplification; the head of audit, who concentrated on privacy and data protection; and the in-house lawyer, who made sure that the rights of sales representatives were respected in their function as independent agents. They chose MobileIron as a group-wide solution that would allow devices to be used compliantly.
In addition to these general requirements, the following features were especially important in the decision:
- The implementation and maintenance of app whitelisting
- The option for users to set up and maintain several devices with different policies
- The automatic distribution of client certificates for safe access to the sales portal
- Safeguarding data with guidelines and Docs@Work
Mobile Access to the Sales Portal
“BKM chose MobileIron because the platform gave them the option to include many non-standard requirements quickly and easily,” says Marco Föllmer, managing director of the Cologne-based company EBF, which implemented the solution.
“They needed an EMM system that was more flexible than the previous one, and which ensured that company iPads could be used only for business purposes. For example, the MobileIron configuration prevents users from adding email addresses other than those of the company.”
The company iPads allow sales representatives to access a core portal containing business documents such as contracts, spreadsheets, client information and product advice. A signature solution will be added soon as a part of the PDF creation feature, allowing PDF documents to be signed on the iPad and submitted to BKM with biometric data for further processing and archiving.
Mobile Apps as an Addition to the Sales Portal
BKM has also installed two proprietary apps on the devices, containing features that are important for mobile users: one is used to prepare for client visits, and the other for online analysis.
Further apps are being developed, including an online calculator allowing representatives to provide rough estimates during initial client visits, and another providing online access to colleagues’ contact information. The data will be maintained centrally by BKM.
In addition to the sales portal and proprietary apps, which access web-based services via a security infrastructure consisting of a network firewall, a load balancing program and a web application firewall, sales representatives may use a selection of free productivity apps from the App Store, such as navigation and gas price finder software.
Apart from the company iPads, sales representatives may use a personal iPhone to access company emails and the visit preparation app. “The usage of a personal iPhone with restricted access to company data must be managed by the MobileIron platform,” explains Dirk Runkel.
Quick Data Management On The Go
Several hundred iPads and iPhones are managed by MobileIron’s Enterprise Mobility Management platform in conjunction with Active Directory, Windows CA (Certificate Authority) and the synchronization service Exchange ActiveSync.
“We’ll probably be integrating our SharePoint servers more in the future,” says Dirk Runkel. “It’s hard to quantify the benefits of our mobility strategy, as it’s only just been implemented, but there are many qualitative advantages. It’s now much quicker and easier to get data to our sales representatives, and this data is more specific, enabling them to give better advice to customers. All of this gives us a competitive edge.”
Bausparkasse Mainz AG
Bausparkasse Mainz AG (BKM) is a specialist bank with 250 employees and a nationwide network of 800 independent sales representatives.
As well as providing mortgages, it has been building energy-saving, ground-up and prefabricated single-family and multi-occupancy homes since the mid-1990s. These are eligible for government subsidies.
In 2012, BKM became a 100-percent subsidiary of Mannheim-based insurer Inter Versicherungsgruppe.