BT needed to replace field service engineers’ aging Windows XP laptops. It deployed Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1 convertible tablets running the Windows 8 operating system and saw increased productivity, reduced costs, and improved customer service
within the first six months. The company is boosting the value of its mobile computing platform by using Windows Store apps to improve mobile engineers’ work experience and drive customer satisfaction.
Each day, BT helps millions of people communicate, do business, entertain themselves, and be informed. To support its customers, more than 6,000 OpenReach field engineers work in the field to provide critical provisioning and repair services for BT.
||We constantly challenge ourselves to reduce costs, improve efficiency, stay on top of security, and deliver a great experience for our employees. With Windows 8, we accomplished all this at the same time.
| Peter Scott
Director of End User Technology and Security, BT
However, these engineers worked with outdated Windows XP laptops that hindered customer service. The laptops took a long time to start and were cumbersome. Establishing Internet connectivity was a recurring problem as engineers went from job to job in different
London neighborhoods. Engineers needed access to line-of-business applications and customer details many times a day to do their work. Yet, accessing the corporate network was a time-consuming process that required one-time passwords, a smart card, and a lengthy
security protocol. Often, as engineers switched between applications, the software would stop responding, forcing repeated restarts.
Anthony Fagan, Technical Coach for OpenReach at BT, reports that OpenReach workers had their laptops repaired frequently. “Computer problems meant downtime and reduced efficiency,” says Fagan. “People wasted time waiting for their laptops to get fixed before
they could get back out in the field.”
To boost on-the-road productivity and provide better customer service, BT needed a more modern mobile computing platform that would reflect positively on the company. “When engineers show up to repair frustrated customers’ telecommunication services, it’s
critical that they have the right equipment to do the job and that they portray a professional image to customers,” says Martin Holloway, General Manager, Field Engineering, OpenReach at BT.
BT adopted the latest desktop operating system from Microsoft to provide its field engineers with the fast, reliable computing experience they need. “Engineers wanted a convertible device that was rugged enough to work on-site and also useful at home,
so they could access pay slips and online trainings,” says Peter Scott, Director of End User Technology and Security at BT. “They wanted to know that when they were in the field, the device would run software reliably. They also wanted touch computing, fast
startup times, and easy, reliable connectivity. We showed them Windows and Android devices as well as iPads. Everyone agreed: a Windows 8 convertible device gave us a zero compromise PC experience.”
IT staff liked that mobile devices running the Windows 8 operating system could be easily managed and secured using Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. “We wanted to take advantage of our investments and it was a benefit to know that we had
the technology to keep the new devices updated and compliant with our update and security policies,” says Scott.
BT can help keep customer data secure on the mobile devices by using BitLocker encryption technology in Windows 8 and a Virtual Smart Card for engineers to authenticate to the network. The company chose the Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1, which has the Trusted
Platform Module (TPM) chip required to use virtual smart card technology. “With Windows 8, we can help our engineers have a productive, flexible workstyle that also has enhanced security and manageability capabilities: the best of both worlds,” says Scott.
“And we can build Windows Store apps to improve both customer service and engineers’ work experience.”
In December 2012, BT deployed 6,000 devices to the field engineers. “We deployed about 600 machines a week,” says Scott. “The engineers have adapted to the new interface with minimal training.”
By deploying Windows 8, BT introduced a new level of mobility and productivity for its field service engineers. These field workers are using the new computing platform to provide top-level customer service that’s setting BT apart from its competitors
through efficient, responsive customer service. “We constantly challenge ourselves to reduce costs, improve efficiency, stay on top of security, and deliver a great experience for our employees,” says Scott. “With Windows 8, we accomplished all this at the
BT has gained the following benefits from using Windows 8:
Boosted productivity. OpenReach engineers are completing more jobs per day and to a higher standard than ever before. “The fantastic start time and performance of the Windows 8 devices, along with a long battery life, has transformed the
productivity of our engineers,” says Scott. “With all the information they need at their fingertips, engineers are getting through more jobs per week.”
Reduced operational costs. Improved productivity will help reduce costs as the company expands its offerings. “We would have hired more engineers to deliver new products, but because our existing staff is working more productively with the
Windows 8 devices, we’ve scaled back on expected labor costs,” says Holloway.
Improved customer relations. BT is already developing apps for its Windows 8 devices to add value to its new mobility platform. “It’s sometimes difficult to get final approval and collect signatures to confirm that work was completed,” says
Holloway. “We have a new app that the engineer can use to demonstrate to the customer what’s been done at the point of service. It’s easy to confirm that the issue has been solved so the customer is more satisfied.”
Provided devices that engineers love. Engineers used to be frustrated with their laptops, but that has changed. “I love that my Windows 8 device helps me deliver better workmanship on the job,” says Fagan. “And I can take it home and use
the stylus or the keyboard for personal computing. It’s adaptable and reliable and it’s made our lives so much easier!”
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