Leeds City Council (LCC) is the local authority of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. LCC is one of five metropolitan district councils in West Yorkshire, and one of 36 in the metropolitan counties of England. The council provides most local government services for the city of Leeds. LCC has been a constituent council of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority since April 2014.
To support employees’ greater use of mobile devices in their daily work, LCC needed a reliable way to secure and manage smartphones and tablets. LCC implemented an enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform from MobileIron. With MobileIron, LCC has enabled city employees such as construction workers, parking attendants, and taxi drivers to work more effectively and productively, while also reducing help desk calls and expenses for the IT department.
Seeking a Secure Platform for Greater Employee Mobility
Leeds City Council (LCC) believes that a good citizen experience begins with a good employee experience. Seeking to increase productivity across its workforce, the city recently aimed to allow employees to perform day-to-day work tasks on today’s increasingly popular mobile devices. But like every government agency, LCC puts a premium on data security. Just as importantly, the city seeks to deploy and manage mobile devices as cost-effectively as possible.
As more and more employees began working on smartphones, LCC implemented Microsoft ActiveSync as a way of managing these devices. But LCC soon realised that the platform didn’t offer the level of security or visibility that it required to manage not only a broad range of devices, but also a potentially great diversity of applications in the future. At the same time, LCC realized that the Android operating system offered it the best blend of maturity and flexibility for its needs, and began looking for an EMM platform that would enable it to secure and manage employee devices.
In early 2011 LCC consulted with their technology partner Qolcom who suggested MobileIron Enterprise Mobility Platform. LCC reviewed the marketplace including offerings from Good Technologies, SAP Afaria, and Airwatch. After completing trials of all of these platforms, working closely with Qolcom to perform a six-month proof of concept and reviewing the Gartner Magic Quadrant, MobileIron proved to be the only winner.
“Since we were moving towards Android as our platform of choice but also wanted to support iOS and everything in between, we needed an EMM solution that could support a truly mixed mobile estate without adding complexity,” explains Daniel Leaf, Microsoft Technical Lead, Leeds City Council. “MobileIron was the right choice because it allows us to manage devices centrally, which is helping reduce our operational overhead. And because MobileIron supports our corporate roadmap, we’re no longer limited in what we can do as both an IT department and an overall organization.”
For City Employees, Mobile Is Now a Way of Life
With a robust yet flexible platform in place for managing devices, LCC now aims to mobilize as many areas of its operations as possible. LCC employees use a broad range of iOS, Windows Phone, and Samsung Android devices to access corporate email, calendars, and other resources. Whether employees log on using LCC-issued or personal devices, they can get secure access to the data and applications that help them do their jobs.
LCC’s construction workers move throughout the city to perform repairs and renovations on government-owned houses. They now use secure Android devices to run a third-party app that keeps them informed of all their most urgent jobs for the day, provides locations and allows them to track their progress for teammates and managers to see.
“Our construction crew used to keep track of their work on scraps of paper, which was inconsistent and a waste of their time,” recalls Leaf. “Tracking their work on secure mobile devices increases their productivity and allows them to provide better service to our citizens. The Samsung KNOX devices we issue give employees access to only the apps they need to do the job, and they provide extra layers of security through encryption and kiosk mode.”
The city’s parking attendants started carrying secure Samsung KNOX devices using MobileIron kiosk mode with an app that lets them issue parking tickets in seconds and print them out on a mobile printer. Because attendants can gather data and issue tickets so much more quickly, they can patrol much broader areas and generate additional revenue for the city.
Meanwhile, LCC’s Passenger Transport service uses a similar configuration with their drivers, using Android devices to access a 3rd party app to view and update their daily route, as well as see valuable customer information. Having this information provided before picking up a client means that the drivers and support staff are able to provide a more attentive and personalized service to some of Leeds’ most vulnerable people.
Going Mobile Yields an Unexpected Payoff
For LCC, mobilizing the workforce has resulted in more than just better citizen service. It has also enabled the city to streamline its technology footprint—and its operations. When LCC noticed that many employees were carrying separate mobile and personal devices, it launched a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. Employees can now select their own devices to connect to the corporate network. The program has not only increased employee satisfaction with mobile devices, but also reduced the LCC’s financial burden in purchasing and maintaining devices.
Managing the mobilization of the workforce on MobileIron has made life easier for LCC’s IT staff. The platform’s central management functions have led to a reduction in help desk calls. IT can now manage the entire mobile estate and the ActiveSync deployment from a single pane of glass—and can more easily monitor and report on compliance with security standards such as those issued by Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG) and Public Services Network (PSN).
The MobileIron platform has even yielded some unexpected benefits. When an LCC employee’s house was robbed in 2014, thieves made off with cars, credit cards, money, and smartphones. The employee called IT to track the phones through the MobileIron platform. IT staff pinpointed one of the phones and alerted the police. When the police arrived at the exact location of the phone, they found one of the burglars hiding in the loft—and recovered most of the stolen items.
With early results like these, it’s no wonder LCC is looking forward to an increasingly mobile future.
“MobileIron Apps@Work gives us the storefront we’ll need to deploy possibly hundreds of productivity apps to our workforce in the years to come,” says Leaf. “We can roll out custom apps or commercially available third-party apps—whatever our employees may need for their specific job duties. As we move employees off of bulky laptops and onto smartphones and tablets, they can start spending more time out in the field serving citizens.”