Surrey County Council Harnessing Technology To Provide Better Services
"Going mobile means freeing up our talented and dedicated staff to provide care to people throughout the country. This is yielding greater productivity for our social workers and a higher quality of care for our citizens."Justin Wood , Senior Consultant, Surrey County Council
Surrey County Council serves a population of more than 1.1 million residents from the fringes of London to the countryside of the Surrey Hills. The authority provides services ranging from social care to road maintenance and trading standards as well as taking a role in promoting prosperity in a county considered to be an engine room of the national economy.
As part of its Modern Worker initiative, Surrey County needed a way to secure and manage iOS phones and tablets. The council ultimately implemented a MobileIron enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform. With MobileIron, the council has enabled hundreds of staff across services, including social care, to spend less time in the office and more time delivering service on the front line, while also keeping council-issued mobile devices in compliance with government data security regulations.
Helping Staff Get Mobile Access To Their Work
Surrey County Council is one of the largest authorities in the country. The council’s IT staff work behind the scenes to make sure these public servants have everything they need to work effectively.
To that end, the council launched its modern worker project in 2012. The council aimed to review everything in its IT infrastructure and evaluate whether these elements were still the best choices for supporting staff members who provide services to the community. At the time, the council had a BlackBerry infrastructure and issued laptops to mobile employees. Users could access email, calendars, and two custom-built apps for specific business areas but they needed laptops to perform most business tasks on the road.
“After looking at what was happening in the world of mobility, we realised there was more we could do for our employees to increase their efficiency and effectiveness given the advances in technology,” said Justin Wood, Senior Consultant, “That meant embracing the new smartphones and tablets that were on the market. But given the stringent security requirements under which we operate, it also meant finding the right EMM solution to secure our devices and data.”
The modern worker project also aimed to maximise the mobility and flexibility of its staff, while also reducing its property portfolio by minimising employees’ needs for office space. Giving social workers the technology meant they could spend more time providing services, rather than performing administrative tasks.
Surrey County Council’s IT staff researched potential solutions. The council also discussed its challenges with its technology partner, Appurity. Based on this research, the council chose to launch a proof of concept with MobileIron.
“MobileIron was the one solution that really supported our needs,” said Justin Wood. “It’s easy to use, and yet it’s robust enough to work within our rigorous security requirements.”
Tablets Help To Cut Bureaucracy
Today, Surrey County Council manages and secures many iPhones and iPads on its MobileIron platform. The first wave of deployment put iPads in the hands of the council’s mobile employees. Now, workers across the county can spend less time in the office and more time supporting the people who need them.
“The response to our modern worker project has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Justin Wood. “Going mobile means freeing up time for our talented and dedicated staff that would otherwise be spent going back to base to do admin tasks.”
MobileIron Docs@Work enables council teams on the road to open email attachments, make edits, and send documents on to colleagues without returning to the office. MobileIron Web@Work and AppTunnel give them a secure way to connect to the council’s intranet via tablet or phone, so that they can easily access corporate information. Employees can read emails from anywhere and check their calendars without logging onto a computer.
Council staff can also conduct interviews or hold meetings remotely via Skype or FaceTime. When they need new apps, they can simply visit the corporate store powered by MobileIron Apps@Work.
Greater Mobility And High Level Of Security
For Surrey County Council, choosing an EMM solution wasn’t a decision to take lightly, not least because rising demand for services such as social care and school places is putting the authority’s budgets under increasing strain. Like all UK government agencies, the council must adhere to stringent data security requirements such as Public Services Network (PSN) and Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). By engaging Appurity to implement six MobileIron appliances in its datacentres, the council has positioned itself to enforce good security practices.
“Appurity was the ideal partner to help keep us in line with government guidelines on data security,” said Justin Wood. “They came to the table with a thorough understanding of the guidelines and how the MobileIron platform can support them, ensuring personal and corporate data is kept safe.”
Surrey County Council and Appurity staff continue to work side-by-side to roll out iPhones and iPads to council staff. The council looks forward to a highly mobile future with MobileIron.
“We’re extremely satisfied with our choice of MobileIron as our EMM platform and Appurity as our technology partner,” said Justin Wood. “We now have the capabilities to adapt to changing regulations and business needs, and to manage and secure the technology our employees use. Our challenge now is to make our staff even more mobile.”