Fiberlink EMM saves IT support techs time, money

DecisionOne needed an EMM platform for its BYOD field techs to cut costs and improve efficiency. They turned to Fiberlink. Here's how it worked out.

When DecisionOne realized it needed device management for its mobilized workers, it turned to Fiberlink for help it believes will save time and, more importantly, money in the future.

DecisionOne Corp., a large IT services provider headquartered in Devon, Pennsylvania, needed to manage its 800 field technicians' mobile devices -- a new reality the company faced as its employees' needs evolved.

Two years ago, the company implemented what it believed was a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, but, in fact, it was simply a mobile device policy, according to John Rooney, DecisionOne's senior vice president of on-site services.

"It was really about what kind of mobile device you wanted and you needed the ability to connect to the Internet," Rooney said. "That was basically the gist of it."

Fiberlink has been way over the top [and] helpful in getting things to work.

John Rooney,
SVP of on-site services, DecisionOne

DecisionOne had no enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform before last fall. Instead, IT gave employees the option of a stipend to purchase a device of their choice as well as a mobile application to manage and close service events. However, the company found its techs were still using laptops with air cards out in the field to conduct their work and DecisionOne paid "an enormous data fee" each month to do so, according to Rooney.

The company, which specializes in infrastructure support, repairs, managed services and reverse logistics, evaluated several other device management platforms, including AirWatch and MobileIron, before choosing Fiberlink, an independent company at the time that has since been purchased by IBM.

DecisionOne felt Fiberlink's capabilities for mobile device management fit best with its goals for its BYOD technicians, including in cost savings. It also was attracted to Fiberlink as a fellow Pennsylvania-based company.

The IT team now uses the cloud-based Fiberlink MaaS360 Secure WorkPlace container on employee-owned devices running Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows Phone, and was able to roll it out to employee devices using its help desk in a single day. DecisionOne also provides Fiberlink-managed mobility services to its own customers.

Using MaaS360, IT admin can push out information to the secure container on employee-owned devices in a more time-efficient manner, without interfering with the personal data on devices. It works with MaaS360's mobile application management capabilities on an app that uses GPS tracking to find a technician's location and automatically push services tickets based on their proximity. The combination of the GPS tracking, the secure container and the management capabilities made Fiberlink the best option of those considered by DecisionOne.

As a result, DecisionOne expects to cut 50% from both time and money spent on field technician travel, according to Rooney. DecisionOne anticipates the application will go live on employee devices in July.

Fiberlink addresses battery issues, working on email

All field technician devices within DecisionOne's environment are BYOD, but some employees ran outdated models of phones that didn't support MaaS360. DecisionOne provided compensation for employees to upgrade their devices, while others upgraded as part of their own smartphone plans or took advantage of an employee discount through AT&T, according to Rooney.

DecisionOne experienced some issues with battery drain on MaaS360-enabled devices, but Fiberlink provided several patches for fixes to the issue. That was a problem that only came up on about 30 of the approximately 800 user devices.

As the company anticipated, there were some questions about the GPS tracking system and the ability for the company to keep tabs on its employees when they are out in the field. Techs can turn off the GPS locator when they're off the clock.

DecisionOne uses "nonstandard" technology in many areas, including using the former VMware property Zimbra as its email client. Fiberlink has been "way over the top [and] helpful in getting things to work," according to Rooney.

In addition to its own employees, DecisionOne uses subcontractors to conduct break-fixes and other field work. As a result, the company wants to find an easy way to get those subcontractors in "standby" when it comes to using a MaaS360 container on their devices.

"It's an open item, but [Fiberlink] has been very interested in working with us to understand it," Rooney said. "It wouldn't be an issue with just [Fiberlink's] product; it's an issue with all of them."

DecisionOne now considers itself further ahead in mobile device management than it is with PC management, and is hoping to apply some of the lessons it learned in its BYOD implementation through Fiberlink to PC management, according to Rooney.

Shortly after DecisionOne signed on last fall, Fiberlink was bought by IBM, bringing the company under Big Blue's MobileFirst umbrella. Despite Fiberlink's purchase by a multi-faceted technology giant like IBM, DecisionOne has only dealt with Fiberlink representatives in the months since the acquisition and has been pleased with the level of service.

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