For many organizations, building a viable and secure mobile platform is complicated and difficult. The problems multiply with the introduction of bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives, which result in a variety of makes and models of mobile devices accessing the corporate network.
Last year, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), an independent government agency that oversees 300 agencies and reports to the country’s parliament, recognized a need to update and modernize its existing mobile infrastructure.
In the past, the agency relied solely on BlackBerry devices—mostly 9000 series phones—to connect staff. Unfortunately, over time, “They had become pretty clunky,” says Gary Pettigrove, ANAO’s CIO. That wasn’t good enough, especially for a department that requires a high level of efficiency and sets standards for other agencies.
“We’re under significant budget and time pressures, and we had to find a way to improve internal communication and collaboration, while ensuring a very high level of security,” he says.
After evaluating a number of solutions, the agency selected BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10). It began piloting the environment in August 2013 and went live with the platform three months later.
In addition to deploying BlackBerry smartphones, ANAO is able to manage other mobile platforms and devices, including iOS and Android. The mobile device management (MDM) software allows ANAO to install and manage a secure container on each device. Therefore, a user with an iPad, iPhone or Android device can run BlackBerry apps and tools on that device.
“They’re able to create their own workspace on the device,” Pettigrove points out. “People can step into board meetings and track all their emails and documents on whatever device they choose.”
As a result, productivity has risen by about 20 percent, while overall staff satisfaction rates have climbed by 15 percent. About 65 percent of the ANAO staff use the new BlackBerry handsets, while 30 percent employ iPhones and 5 percent use Android devices.
The main appeal, according to Pettigrove, is that ANAO has been able to adopt BYOD. Because the MDM software can manage and control the individual container on the device, IT can lock and control the container while leaving the rest of the device alone. In addition, the system provides better controls for email and documents.
“We have a classified and protected network,” he reports. “People are able to send email with the security classification, and we’re able to ensure that the message is received and viewed only by the appropriate person.”
The platform also allows ANAO to update phones, install newer versions of operating systems, and deal with other patches and updates more seamlessly. “As long as the BlackBerry MDM runs on the phone, we’re able to make changes,” Pettigrove explains. “We can add a new OS or app and move on,”
At present, about 50 devices run on the BlackBerry platform, though Pettigrove expects the number to rise to about 200 in the coming months. He’s now looking to add a PDF annotator and other productivity solutions.
It’s a winning situation. “Mailboxes are smaller, people are responding faster and employees say they have better work-life balance,” Pettigrove says. “We’re a quicker, smarter and more efficient organization.”