Eurostar Keeps Trains Running On Time With MobileIron
"MobileIron gave us the most flexibility and the strongest security. It was simply the best."Andy Simmonds , Head of IT Infrastructure and Operations Eurostar
Eurostar has revolutionized travel between the United Kingdom and the European continent with its high-speed railway service, which connects London with Avignon, Brussels, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, and Paris. Travel times are dramatically reduced thanks to a 200 mph state-of-the-art train, and travellers can make the 306-mile trip to Paris from London through the Channel Tunnel in just over two hours. With approximately 2,000 employees, Eurostar recorded one million travellers in July 2015.
Eurostar wanted to mobilize its day-to-day operations to transform everything from train maintenance to business intelligence. It launched a mobility initiative and turned to MobileIron’s Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) to secure and manage corporate-owned and BYOD devices. Eurostar also relies on MobileIron to deploy custom and third-party business applications, which have directly resulted in cost savings and increased productivity since launch. Eurostar improved customer experience with reduced maintenance times, created operational efficiencies both on the trains and in the depot and slashed employee mobile bills by 50 percent with its Wandera and MobileIron integration.
Building a strategic mobile future
With train drivers and managers constantly travelling between countries, Eurostar understood that mobility could unlock major time-savings for its most mobile employees. The company needed an EMM partner to boost productivity by delivering secure mobile access to corporate resources, such as email, contacts, and calendars. But it wouldn’t stop there. It wanted to build a well-rounded mobile strategy designed to leverage innovation to increase competitive advantage. Eurostar needed a strategic EMM partner that could grow as its deployment matured.
“In the beginning, we wanted to give our people top-of-the-line mobile devices and would enable them to access sensitive corporate information. Security was paramount,” said Andy Simmonds, Head of IT Infrastructure and Operations, Eurostar. “We explored the leading EMM vendors with strict selection criteria. MobileIron gave us the most flexibility and the strongest security. It was simply the best.”
Today, Eurostar uses MobileIron to secure and manage more than 1,300 iPhones and iPads, as well as a robust BYOD program. The devices touch critical data everyday, so the ability to remotely wipe data or applications from a lost or stolen device is key.
Eurostar was one of the first adopters of MobileIron in Europe. As its deployment matured, it turned to Qolcom, a Wireless and Enterprise Mobility Specialist and the UK partner for GEMA, Global Enterprise Mobility Alliance. Qolcom was selected based on their deep knowledge and consultancy expertise with MobileIron.
“Qolcom is an excellent partner that works as an extension of our own team. Together with MobileIron, they enabled us to implement an end-to-end BYOD strategy. Our staff are happier and more productive, and we couldn’t have done it without Qolcom,” says Simmonds.
Transforming operations with applications
Mobile has transformed Eurostar’s operations to the point where employees rely on mobile to get their jobs done. Before Eurostar launched its mobility initiative, train drivers and train managers carried suitcases full of paper documentation during journeys. Today, they use Box to sign-off on documentation on their iPads. While this fulfills regulatory requirements and reduces paper waste, the most important benefit is that it massively reduces the amount of time drivers spend on administrative work. They are freed up to focus on what they do best, drive trains.
“Not only have we introduced enterprise applications such as Box to give access to company documentation, but we do a lot of custom app development too,” explains Kazi Islam, Network and Voice Technical Architect, Eurostar. “We are now looking at a catering app to remove paperwork around on-board catering to streamline the service.”
Another example of mobility transforming Eurostar’s operations is a custom application that train managers use to view train maintenance, including faults, repairs, and other issues. Train managers and depot staff have real-time information at their fingertips, so maintenance staff can streamline repairs.
“Train managers are responsible for the safety of passengers as well as customer service on the train”, says Simmonds. “In the past, managers would walk up and down trains interacting with passengers, logging any faults or complaints on paper using clipboards, then send this information back to the depot via email or fax once they got into the next station. This can now all be done in real-time.”
Eurostar’s mobile strategy has been so successful in the field that it is increasingly moving to cloud-based apps in the back office. For example, Eurostar relies on Tableau for business intelligence and analytics.
“Our Employees now see mobile apps and devices as mission critical,” says Simmonds. “I can’t think of a better testament to the benefits of mobility.”
Protecting against bill shock with Wandera and MobileIron
One of the biggest challenges faced by Eurostar was the cost of mobile roaming. As employees traveled on journeys and crossed borders from country to country, mobile costs skyrocketed.
The company turned to Wandera, a mobile data security and management solution which offers a range of benefits, including policy controls to reduce roaming costs. The MobileIron platform was used to deploy and manage Wandera and to take action if employees tried to remove the app. Eurostar took this opportunity to inform employees about how the use of certain services abroad can result in high costs. Mobile roaming costs plunged 50 percent as a result of these two tactics.
“We’re a train company. Our people have to be able to roam affordably. Removing or reducing mobile access was not an option,” says Simmonds. With Wandera and MobileIron, bill shock is a thing of the past for us.”
Moving at the speed of mobile
With it’s strategic mobile initiatives, Eurostar has streamlined train maintenance, reduced the amount of administrative work required for drivers, and shrunk costs associated with mobility. More importantly, employees are empowered to work the way they want. Best of all, company data is secure.
“Our workforce is mobile by nature, but security is a top priority. MobileIron empowers us to focus on passenger safety and keeping trains running on time. We have confidence that our mobile data is secure.”