Austrian care provider Hilfswerk Niederösterreich (Hilfswerk NÖ) has 3,600 employees and almost as many volunteers. They are on the road on a daily basis, and mobile devices are an essential tool in their work, using business apps to coordinate appointments and record the time they spend on different tasks. The organization employs MobileIron’s EMM platform to manage the devices and apps, and to keep confidential patient and client data secure.
Hilfswerk NÖ is the leading provider of home care and help and family and advice centers in the state of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), supplying a wide range of services to some 26,000 people. It is one of the state's biggest employers, and volunteers also play a vital role in its operations. Between the two groups, they work an average of 150,000 hours a year. They act as family mentors, deliver meals on wheels, work in the organization's five mobile workshops, and run integrated learning clubs. More than 750 officials make regular home visits to 850 patients, where they play cards, take them for walks, read aloud or chat, and generally make themselves useful.
Hilfswerk NÖ has 68 sites in Lower Austria, and its care teams are constantly on the move. This highly decentralized structure ensures that clients receive a local service, but requires a great deal of organizing. The resource planning process also has centralized and decentralized components. Patient data, work schedules and billing details must flow through to a central location, but onsite staff must be able to input and view information on services provided, time spent and case updates.
Multiplatform capability was very important
Managers at Hilfswerk NÖ had long been aware that mobile devices were ideal for this large and complex organizational structure. But a high-performance enterprise mobility management system was essential if staff were to have secure access to mobile apps, with a central console and security features managing the devices and apps to ensure an efficient and secure flow of data between the devices and the data center.
The IT specialists at Hilfswerk NÖ found MobileIron's Enterprise Mobility Management platform the perfect tool to manage their 2,800 Android devices and small number of Windows phones and iPhones.
"Although we currently rely almost entirely on Android, it was very important that the EMM system be multiplatform capable," says IT manager Erwin Kocher. "Part of the reason why we liked MobileIron was because they've always been very committed to Android, offering many functions and supporting older versions. For example, we use the Android Enterprise module to import large numbers of Google accounts, so we can very quickly link our internal mail accounts to Google before creating them. This saves us a lot of time."
Until the platform was established, the devices could be used only for voice calls, with all other features being blocked on security grounds.
"Staff were increasingly calling for greater freedom to make better use of the devices' productivity potential," Kocher says.
The organization considered a large number of options, including Samsung Knox, Microsoft Intune, VMWare Airwatch and BlackBerry, but chose MobileIron very quickly, after just two months. The project was planned and implemented together with the ICT service partner Kapsch BusinessCom AG. Johannes Bachlechner, ICT solutions designer at Kapsch BusinessCom AG, says, "We advised Hilfswerk NÖ on the decision, supported the project from the start, and implemented the MobileIron EMM platform after the decision was made."
Mobile resource planning apps
The organization's mobile IT strategy is mainly based on two apps developed by the external service providers Ilogs GmbH and Connect Communication GmbH. The apps mobilize and automate the processes of resource planning, time recording, receipting and billing. One app is in mobile care, and the other is in family advice.
The apps record the individual services to be provided, and distribute this information to the thousands of employees, who enter details of the work carried out and time spent onsite. Their clients confirm that the service has been provided, and this generates a work record used as the basis for customer and time-based billing.
The apps significantly reduce the paperwork required of onsite employees, by automatically synchronizing resource and service planning on their devices and improving the internal IT support they receive.
"This saves a lot of time on installing, configuring and maintaining the phones," Erwin Kocher explains. "MobileIron's remote Help@Work function also lets staff access support wherever they are, which reduces the department's workload and gives them a better service onsite."
Certificate-based user authentication also saves valuable time by not requiring staff to input a password. Access to the Sentry proxy server within the MobileIron infrastructure is managed by Exchange Active Sync, which works with the active directory.
Hilfswerk NÖ began working with MobileIron and Kapsch BusinessCom AG in April 2016. The last devices will be connected to the MobileIron platform in mid-2017, but this will not be the end of the migration to mobile technology, as Erwin Kocher's IT department will be working on numerous user requests for increased mobility. It's time for new projects, and new apps.