Watch how Sweden’s national rail operator was able to successfully roll out a mobile program using Snow Device Manager
"Most of all, Snow Device Manager gives us all the control that we need."
Tomas Leideborg, Network and Systems Manager at SJ
With operations and staff across Sweden using a variety of IT devices, including mobiles and tablets, SJ needed a secure solution to control and manage both Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporately Owned Privately Enabled (COPE) schemes to deliver high levels of service – ensuring reliability, punctuality and efficiency.
Using Snow Device Manager, the rail operator was able to successfully roll out a mobile program, providing train drivers and conductors with devices and applications to do their jobs more effectively. By providing a single solution for all connected devices, there has been less administration, and better control of costs. Train drivers and on-board personnel always have the latest versions of applications and via self-service can resolve any issues, order new devices and arrange for an old device to be recycled.
- Management of 8,000 devices via Snow Device Manager
- Rail drivers get real-time information to drive trains more efficiently
- Device distribution is processed automatically
- Devices are recycled
- Immediate visibility of who is using what device
- Workplace security enhanced.
- Number of support cases is massively reduced
COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY AND VISIBILITY
SJ has more than 5,000 employees and handles about 100,000 passengers across 1,450 departures every day. The rail operator also manages 160 stations from Narvik in the North to Copenhagen in the South. Eighty percent of its workforce is mobile – in roles such as train drivers and conductors – and the company wanted a streamlined way in how devices are sourced for its employees; also, it sought to reduce the number support calls for these devices, while ensuring that they were also sufficiently secured and available with all the applications that its employees needed to do their jobs effectively.
Late in 2008, SJ deployed Snow Device Manager (formerly known as Revival) and from that time it has been able to manage over 6,000 devices continuously and securely through their lifecycle – from the moment an employee requests a device to deploying and using applications on it all the way until it is decommissioned for recycling. As the majority of the staff are always on the move, when settings are changed or new versions of software becomes available, these are now pushed to the devices automatically without the need for any direct involvement from users.
Initially, train drivers were able to access a digital manual which they could refer to for their rotas, policies, security etc. Other bespoke applications quickly followed. For example, in line with its goal to run trains at optimal speeds and be as efficient as possible, SJ launched an Eco application – Eco Driving – for drivers to see when to speed up, when to slow down, and, by accessing real-time traffic information they can compare their speed with the train ahead and drive the train most efficiently. Tomas Leideborg, Network and Systems Manager at SJ, recounts that: “By 2013, compared with the previous year, SJ was able to demonstrate consumption of electricity had dropped by 19 percent just from using this application.”
EASY FOR USERS, CONTROL FOR THE COMPANY
Today, SJ has one infrastructure managing over 8,000 devices through Snow Device’s Manager, covering all the rail operator’s mobile estate. The company also has an overview of noncorporate devices on the network thanks to the Snow Device Manager Exchange Defender.
The Snow end-user portal alerts users that some applications are available only on Samsung phones or tablets (not Apple iOS) but they have the choice to order whatever device they want. Once they make an order it triggers an approval system behind the scenes so their business manager can approve or reject the request. At the same time the system will define what applications (Email, Wi-Fi, TrAppen) are available per operating system so users can choose which is most appropriate.
Tomas says, ”For the user, it’s an easy process between ordering and receiving the device as all the other processes happen in the background – and they can monitor the progress. And for managers, they are able to access cost reports for their cost centers. The provisioning and configuration of each device is outsourced to Ingram Micro, which prepopulates the phone with the relevant applications (which are pre-packaged dependent on job role) before sending it directly to the user.”
DEVICES SECURED, APPLICATIONS UPDATED REMOTELY
For example, all on-board personnel get a panic alarm as a preinstalled app in case they have a confrontation with a member of public, which once pressed, emits a distress signal and starts recording everything. Tomas says, “Users can download other apps for their phones, but we have locked down the new point-of-sales devices to only have a handful of SJ-managed apps.”
Through the Snow end-user portal, the provision of devices has become streamlined – when an employee needs a new device, they are able to log on via single sign on to order a new phone – that phone is then provisioned automatically by Snow Device Manager dependent on job role. Today the company has three different provisioning profiles: administration, train drivers and on-board personnel.
"Snow has given us full visibility into software spend, compliance and security for the entire workplace."
Tomas Leideborg Network and Systems Manager at SJ
Tomas explains, “No longer does an order have to go from a distributor to a reseller that has it in stock then onto the IT Department which does something more to it before it reaches the end user. Now, two steps are skipped, which brings the price down and is much quicker too. Ingram is able to configure the device on the day it receives the order and the phone or tablet can be shipped the next day.” On receipt, users input a four-digit code and can start using the device. Once in use, any app updates are pushed directly to it without the user’s direct involvement, ensuring that they always have the most up-todate version and that everyone is working from the same one.
The Snow end-user portal also gives users the possibility to order accessories, register lost devices, reset their device or recycle them. If they lose a device they can easily go on the portal, select their device and follow requisite steps of what to do. With the introduction of the portal, the number of support cases has dropped significantly as users have grown familiar with using self-service to resolve issues they may have.
Snow Device Manager is able to remotely wipe the device ensuring all corporate data is removed. If the phone is faulty there is a hardware service where the user fills in what’s wrong and Snow Device Manager collects the IMEI number, the name of the device and gives the user categories of fault which then determines what actions need taking.
Furthermore, Snow Device Manager enables users, when ordering a new device, to recycle their old one. The self-service portal gives them the option to select to receive a returns envelope with a ready-addressed label and postage so they can send in their old device. In fact, users are limited to three devices each, so if they want another they first need to recycle one of their current phones or tablets. Once the old device is received it is checked that it is indeed the correct phone with the corresponding IMEI and not just any old device that the user wants to return before a new one is issued.
SJ company policy states that employees are not allowed to bring their own device to use in the workplace and so Snow Device Manager blocks any non-authorized device that tries to access email server. If a user tries to register such a phone on the portal, Snow Device Manager - has an IMEI filter that will only recognize approved IMEI numbers, so it will be rejected.
Tomas comments, “Snow Device Manager works really smoothly. With applications pushed to devices in the background, users are always using the most up-to-date apps and information. We can certainly see huge time savings around the procurement and distribution of devices to SJ’s workforce. From the outset, we wanted to give our users the ability to handle and log their own requests and now we see a log of more than 15,000 support cases every year that are resolved via the portal – another great example of time savings.
TIME AND MONEY SAVINGS IN ALL ASPECTS OF TELEPHONY
“Most of all, Snow Device Manager gives us all the control that we need – we know which employees have what devices, if those devices are in use or not, and can help them with configuration of the devices. Today we are able to distribute six line-of-business app SJ applications, Email, Wi-Fi and security settings in a super easy way. We save time – and money – in all aspects of telephony, ordering devices is more efficient, support calls are fewer and handled faster and users have what they need to be most productive.”
Late in 2015, SJ started to use the out-of-the-box connector between Snow Device Manager and Snow License Manager providing it full insight into software spend across the company, from the desktop to the mobile estate. Tomas concludes, “Snow has given us full visibility into software spend, compliance and security for the entire workplace.”