About North Devon Council
North Devon Council is a small, rural district council serving approximately 90,000 residents across 40,000 homes. The council is responsible for providing a range of municipal services, including waste and recycling collections, environmental health, planning and development, and parks and leisure services.
As budgetary pressure increases, local councils need to find ways to make more efficient use of their resources. Simultaneously, they must continue to invest in providing the right tools to help their employees work efficiently. Many employees work across multiple offices or in the community, and they require secure remote access to their emails and calendars.
In the past, the council supplied such employees with both laptops and mobile phones. With smartphones growing in sophistication and usability, the council realised that it could save money by relying exclusively on smartphones.
The council recognised that it could cut costs further by allowing employees to access council data from their own smartphones—but it first needed to ensure that sensitive data stored on these devices was held securely.
To address these challenges, North Devon Council ran a successful pilot of Mobile Management. The software enables the council to manage, secure, report and troubleshoot mobile devices. The council is now planning to replace its existing BlackBerry mobile management solution with our offering, which will cut licensing costs by 80 percent in the second and third years of deployment according to the council’s estimates.
Ben Shirley, ICT Infrastructure Team Leader at North Devon Council, said, "Mobile Management provides us with a cost-effective way to manage mobile devices in the long term.”
With this solution, the council can provide mobile employees with an email-enabled smartphone, or push email to their personal smartphones securely.
“Using Mobile Management, we can manage mobile devices easily and enforce the same strict access and usage rules that apply to other council-owned equipment,” said Ben Shirley.
Employees who use their own smartphone must download the Mobile Management agent and accept the security policies defined by the council.
“Mobile Management gives us complete visibility of authorised mobile devices, whether owned by the council or not,” said Ben Shirley. “It also allows us to lock down access to council data and resources, so that users can work productively from any location without risk to the council.”
Many employees can access their work email using their existing smartphones, since the software supports a wide range of devices. Currently, 40 percent of the devices on the Mobile Management system are owned by employees.
Mobile Management also provides a tracking feature, which can be used to locate lost or stolen mobile devices.
The solution is helping the council to reduce expenditure on laptops where a smartphone offers the required functionality. Migrating to Mobile Management is expected to cut annual licensing costs for mobile management software by 80 percent.
“Many employees need to be able to make calls and access email from any location,” said Ben Shirley. “With Mobile Management, they can access council data securely from a single smartphone or tablet, saving the cost of deploying a laptop. We started with ten mobile users, but more and more employees want to receive emails on smartphones and tablets rather than laptops.”
The council is cutting costs further by introducing a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) option. “With BYOD, employees only need to carry one device, and the council saves the cost of deploying a second mobile phone,” said Ben Shirley. “Users find it more convenient, since they already know how to use their own devices. That means they can work more productively, too. If an employee’s phone is lost or stolen, we can remotely wipe either the council data or the entire phone to ensure that sensitive data does not fall into the wrong hands.”
In future, the council plans to use the software’s file sharing feature to grant employees mobile access to important documents such as agendas for upcoming meetings, enabling them to work away from their desks more efficiently.
“As we face up to the challenge of new ways of working, Novell (now a part of Micro Focus) supports us with outstanding technology for managing security,” said Ben Shirley. “With Mobile Management, we have a single pane of glass for all mobile devices.”