When they decided to roll out 1700 company iPhones in a single day, all with their company app pre-installed, LNT Group knew they would need a formidable Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We set them up with the ideal solution for their deployment, and helped them get the best price for their ever- growing number of licences…
Making staff feel like ‘part of the family’
Comprised of five different companies and delivering everything from care homes to race cars, LNT Group have grown from a family company to a firm of almost 2000 employees. “We decided to roll out smartphones now because as our company grows across the UK, we’re finding it harder to make people feel like part of the core business, part of the family here at LNT,” explained Leigh Ellis, LNT Group’s communications and marketing developer. “One of the ways we thought we could do that was to give everyone in the company a mobile device, so that they could be involved in the company remotely.”
Leigh and his team chose iPhones because existing users in the company had fed back that “iPhone was really easy to use, people just seemed to be able to pick them up and use them straight away, without the need for much training.” There was also the feeling that a smartphone would “feel like a present” more than a standard device, and give employees the inclusive morale boost that LNT thought was needed.
Developing an in-house app
As well as handing out iPhones, the company decided to build their own in-house app, iLNT. “Although we could probably have found a solution of apps that worked together to create what we needed, we thought that if we created one app that had it all in one place, it’d be much easier for staff to use,” explained Leigh. “Some of the things that people can use our app to do include receiving the latest news and updates from the group, so that they know what’s going on here at head office and feel like part of the family. We also wanted them to be able to communicate with us, and again that’s another feature of the app. They can send us suggestions, they can send messages direct to the chairman as well.”
As well as keeping staff up to date with the latest company news and allowing them to send key messages to individuals or sectors within the group, iLNT allows staff to clock in and out, book holidays and perform other HR tasks – all of which helps to encourage staff to use their phones every day and therefore give LNT Group the best return on their investment.
Deploying 1700 devices
The LNT Group’s chairmen felt that making an event of the iPhone launch and giving everyone in the organisation their device on the same day was key to creating a buzz about the scheme and making sure staff were excited by it. However, it meant that LNT Group’s eight-strong IT team would have to roll out 1700 devices at once, register them to the company, install iLNT on each and handle any teething problems – all in a single day.
Leigh immediately began comparing MDM solutions to find one that would ensure the rollout went smoothly. “I compared about 20 different companies in the market. I managed to narrow it down to about five that had all the features that we’d need, and the one that came out on top from an ease of use point of view, as well as many other things, was Absolute Manage. It really seemed to do everything we needed, and not only that but it did everything we’d have liked it to do as well, and it did it in an easy to use package.”
For the initial rollout, the key thing about Absolute was that everything could be automated. The iPhones would be enrolled on the group’s system automatically, and LNT could create their own app store to push out iLNT updates to employees who didn’t have iTunes accounts. “Originally we thought there might be some problems with it taking too long on each individual enrolment,” explained Leigh, “but we went to Absolute support about this and they were very forthcoming in giving us a solution where we could speed it all up and automate the process.”
Since the rollout, Absolute Manage MDM has continued to shine. “We can track all the devices, we can make sure that they’re all safe, and we can make sure that everything that goes out to the phones is secure and restricted,” said Leigh. “And in fact, if anyone’s not using their phone we can see that [using Absolute Manage MDM’s use tracking tools] and go to them and say, ‘what do we need to do to get you using your phone?’ It might just be a case of training, or it might be the case that they need something else on the phone so they can use it better.”
Supporting and maintaining the deployment
“The great thing about Absolute MDM was that we really didn’t need any training – the software just worked exactly how we expected it to and everything was where we needed it to be,” said Leigh. “We have a team of eight IT support staff here, and it’s been so easy that we haven’t even needed all of those to run the support for the phones. It’s down to one person to do it, and they’re managing that very easily. On the couple of occasions when we have needed support, [Absolute’s team] have been very quick.”
The response from staff
“The staff response to the iPhones has been excellent – better than expected, actually,” said Leigh. “When we rolled out this many phones we thought we might get quite a few teething problems, but actually staff have taken to the phones really well, they’re all using them every day, and we can see that from the tracking reports.”
“When I first found out about the iPhone scheme I was quite sceptical to be honest, I didn’t think it would work,” said Matthew Crumpton, LNT Group’s resident videographer, who uses the iLNT app to push out training videos to staff phones. “But now that I’ve seen it happen, it’s really impressive. I thought all the stuff about the new app and the things it can do was quite groundbreaking. It’s kept me in touch with all my work colleagues as I was up and down the country travelling with Ginetta and Ideal Care Homes, and it’s allowed me to do HR tasks – booking holidays, clocking in and clocking out when I’m in different places, it’s revolutionised the way I do my job.
“We can send out messages as often as we want to particular parts of the company, so if you only want to send out a message to construction or people in Ideal Care Homes or people in a particular care home, say in Newark, we can send out a message, and it keeps it feeling like a family business. And as the company’s grown and got bigger and expanded its staff, that we can still keep in touch like that is fantastic.”
Most of the staff have found it easy to get to grips with their phones, and any support issues are usually resolved quickly. “Leigh does receive quite a few calls every day, but they’re usually quick fixes and it’s usually just people who aren’t familiar with using the phones,” says Matthew. “Some of them were quite sceptical about using iPhones at first, but I think as their confidence in the phones grows and they see other staff members benefitting from them, they do start to use them a lot more.”
Constantly expanding the scheme
“With every member of staff here at LNT receiving a new phone, and new care homes opening every month, we’re constantly rolling out new phones to staff, and every time we do we’re constantly learning a bit more about how to roll out and get the best out of these phones,” said Leigh, who also makes sure that the iLNT app is regularly updated with new features. “For anyone looking to roll out mobile devices at the minute, I really would suggest Absolute as the main product to use. It’s really taken away a lot of time from our workload, and because it’s invisible to the end user, they don’t even need to know how to use it, it just works.”
“I think the success of the scheme here at LNT proves that it can be such a success at any company,” agreed Matthew. “We were new to it when we started, we threw ourselves in at the deep end and we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into, but it’s proved an amazing success and I’d definitely recommend it to other companies.”
For more about mobile device management and Absolute Manage, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email B2B@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.