Industry: Financial services and insurance
"We have developed a central app that serves as a mobile dashboard for users, incorporating various internal work processes, currently including releases and approvals."
Union Investment Enterprise Mobility Project Manager, Union IT Services.
The fund management company, Union Investment, centers its mobility strategy on a dashboard app that incorporates a wide range of functions. Managers can access the app securely on their iPhones to speed up approvals and other decision-making processes. The system is based on MobileIron's Enterprise Mobility Management platform, as well as Apple's Device Enrollment Program (DEP) and Volume Purchase Program (VPP).
Frankfurt-based Union Investment was established over 60 years ago by a group of cooperative and private banks. Today it offers investment solutions to consumers, institutional clients, and real-estate companies, drawing on the private banks' long-established fund management expertise and the co-ops' broadly based structure and values. It now has some 3,000 employees serving more than four million customers and is one of Germany's leading fund's companies, with €323.9 billion under management as of December 31, 2017.
Union Investment uses an internal supplier, Union IT Services, for its mobile and other IT requirements. So unlike many other companies, its enterprise mobility strategy is driven from within.
"Partly because IT is driven internally, users were very closely involved right from the start," says Markus Hartmann, the Enterprise Mobility Project Manager. "Our top priorities were to provide an optimal user experience and to add real value to the departments concerned."
The project is built on MobileIron's Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) platform. MobileIron became part of the migration project four years ago when Union Investment switched from BlackBerry to iPhone. MobileIron recommended the IT service provider Computacenter, which advises Union Investment on many IT issues, and provides technical and organizational support for system integration.
"We wanted to plan for the workplace of the future," says Günther Horstmann at Computacenter. " Topics like digitalization, mobility and cloud-based services are increasingly coming to the forefront."
Union Investment currently has 1,200 iPhones in use, which are operated under Apple's highly automated DEP and VPP, and are administered entirely by the IT department.
Single dashboard app for information, approvals, and decision-making
Union Investment's enterprise mobility strategy focuses on mobilizing new and existing business processes, says Andreas Tröster, the company's Organizational and IT Consultant. Existing desktop apps aren't replaced; they are just optimized and made available on mobile devices." The first to go mobile were approval and decision-making processes for invoices, vacations, seminars, meeting scheduling, and access to intranet and internal documents.
"We now have fast, secure and comprehensive access to corporate data wherever we are," says Tröster. "That's the big benefit of the new mobility."
Union Investment runs its information, approval, and decision-making processes on a single central app that effectively acts as a mobile dashboard. As we spoke with different departments, we soon agreed that it would be more user friendly to combine various functions and processes into a single app than have multiple separate ones," explains Markus Hartmann. MobileIron's software development kit (SDK) helps to weave the central app into the EMM platform so that they interact seamlessly and securely.
In addition to this tailor-made user interface, Union Investment uses Apple VPP to provide employees with access to key third-party apps from, for example, Deutschen Bahn and Lufthansa, and access to communication/conference apps such as WebEx.
Containerization and reduced back-end interfaces
So far, Union Investment has primarily taken existing processes mobile, but in future it plans to make new apps mobile-friendly right from the start. The company is well equipped for secure app development. MobileIron's AppConnect tool lets it pack business apps into a secure container, and use a third-party backend-as-a-service tool to separate front and back ends.
"Data and process logic normally have to be merged from different backend systems such as SAP FI, SAP HCM and SharePoint," says Tröster. "So we put a separate layer between these and the app development process. This solves the interface problem and makes development much simpler."
Far fewer incident tickets
"Employees have already recognized the advantages of the new mobility solution," Tröster continues. "MobileIron and Apple DEP/VPP have considerably streamlined the process, and every team member can operate it in a self-service mode, which has significantly reduced the number of support tickets."