Leeds City Council is the second largest Local Authority in England and Wales, providing a broad range of public services including education, housing, transport and highways, social care, leisure and recreation, and waste management. Over 6,000 Council employees are supplied with corporate-owned mobile devices, 800 of which are Windows smartphones. Initially trialing ActiveSync to safeguard and manage its smartphone estate, the IT team, led by Marcus Hunter, Strategic Services Manager, concluded that a more comprehensive approach was required. He explains,
“With Microsoft at the core of our IT infrastructure we implemented ActiveSync to manage our smartphone estate. We determined that it didn’t offer the level of visibility or security that we needed to manage a broad estate of devices and a potentially broad estate of applications going forward. We also wanted to adopt a mature smartphone platform for the corporate environment, and began assessing Android as the operating system of choice. We embarked on a project to refresh our entire enterprise mobility strategy, and a secure mobile device management solution (MDM) needed to be at the heart of this.”
The team also noticed some employees were carrying two devices: corporate as well as personal devices. Recognising rising employee demand for smartphone use from across its workforce, the Council brought together the business case for enabling BYOD: increasing productivity and user experience whilst protecting sensitive information, and opening up the opportunity to reduce the costs of providing and maintaining corporate devices.
To meet the security and productivity needs, Leeds City Council assessed and piloted MDM solutions including MobileIron across a range of other market leading providers. Hunter explains, “We conducted trials on each of the MDM platforms and found individual strengths in encryption or heightened support for one particular OS. However, as we move towards iOS, Android and everything in between, we needed a platform that could support and secure a truly mixed mobile estate without adding complexity. We concluded that MobileIron was the best all round solution with the capabilities to do this.”
Working with trusted partner, Qolcom, Leeds City Council implemented MobileIron. Keith Reading, director, at Qolcom explains, “The council is considering exciting plans to extend the MobileIron functionality across the city’s 270 school sites, supporting 15,000 educational staff in their work. It is also investigating a shared services initiative where smaller surrounding councils can benefit from a slice of the platform. These ambitions could only be supported by an MDM solution that has the high-end security and management capabilities that MobileIron can offer.”
Leeds is currently testing the productivity benefits of mobile applications, enabling specialist third party apps to employees in the highways department and housing association teams. With the MobileIron platform now in place, the Council is looking to develop its mobile app strategy using MobileIron’s App Storefront for the discovery, deployment and security of both internal and external mobile apps.
Hunter concludes, “The central management functions of the platform mean that operational overheads will reduce. With technology to match the needs of our employees and support the corporate roadmap of the council, we are no longer limited in what we can do as both an IT department or as an organisation.”