4-page Case Study
Posted: 10/2/2012
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Dimension Data Mobile information rights management services enables IT professionals to access sensitive documents on smartphones.

“Now, we have phones that give staff almost instant access to critical but confidential business information, and they have phones they love using.”

Brian Walshe, General Manager, Microsoft Solutions Infrastructure, Dimension Data

With hundreds of IT professionals working at client sites around Australia, Dimension Data needs to ensure staff can rapidly access, examine and update confidential documents by email on their mobile devices. However, many of the devices staff preferred for personal communications could not open documents protected using the firm’s Microsoft Exchange-based information rights management (IRM) solution.

From 2010-2012, the firm’s IT department made new HTC Trophy and Nokia Lumia series smartphones available, which use the new Windows Phone operating system. Because the phones recognise the certificates used by the firm’s Active Directory Rights Management Services, staff can access sensitive documents on mobile email, and the firm can employ new IRM techniques, such as auto-protection for communications between designated groups.

The Windows Phones have proved immensely popular. With integrated social networking features, aggregated email accounts and access to hundreds of thousands of mobile apps, staff have a phone that satisfies personal and business needs. Responding to demand, the IT department has issued over 350 Windows Phone smartphones in 18 months.

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* Mobile Communications are critical for our staff. They use smartphones for emergency email,
responding rapidly to time-critical issues and seeking answers to immediate problems.
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Brian Walshe,
General Manager,
Microsoft Solutions Infrastructure,
Dimension Data

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Business Needs

Founded in South Africa in 1983, Dimension Data is now a global
IT company, specialising in systems integration and infrastructure deployment. The company’s professional staff help large and medium-sized businesses to select, customise, deploy and maintain cutting-edge information and communication technologies, including those developed
by Microsoft.

In Australia, the firm employs 1,700 staff, based in six offices in each of the country’s state capitals. Many of these staff are IT professionals who spend the majority of their time working on customer premises across the country.

“Mobile communication is critical for our staff,” says Brian Walshe, General Manager, Microsoft Solutions Infrastructure, Dimension Data. “They use smartphones for email triage, responding rapidly to time-critical issues and seeking answers to immediate problems. In many cases, this involves opening and reviewing document and spread-sheet attachments.”

To provide this rapid-response capability, the company issued over 700 smartphones to staff, including Blackberrys, Nokia E71s and Samsung BlackJacks. However, by late 2010, staff required more than just a mobile email solution.

“Our biggest problem was securing email,” says Walshe. “Like many companies, we use information rights management [IRM] so we can prevent specific emails and documents from being copied or forwarded. Unfortunately, many of the devices that staff preferred using could not recognise the IRM certificates used by our Active Directory Rights Management Services software. As a result, they couldn’t open protected documents on their smartphones.”

This communication problem looked set to grow: the more the firm ensured emails remained confidential, more mobile and remote workers would have to revert to using PCs to access the majority of urgent emails.

“When considering how to resolve this issue, we also had to address the problem of smartphone commonality,” adds Walshe. “Our younger professionals wanted a smartphone with good social media integration, excellent mobile apps, or would have no appeal for them. So if we started issuing new smartphones to staff and expected them to use it, we had to ensure they balanced business and non-business requirements.”

Solution

One of the firm’s existing smartphones, the Samsung BlackJack, used a Windows operating system and had proved very popular. Consequently, when Microsoft released the all-new mobile Windows Phone operating system to phone manufacturers in late 2010, Dimension Data made more devices available to its staff.

“We purchased a few Windows Phone HTC Trophy smartphones for staff to trial, and they were immediately impressed,” says Walshe. “The interface is very quick and responsive. There is no jerkiness and it all works beautifully.”

“The phone had all the features and functionality the business wanted. In the first place, it was an excellent phone with great voice quality. With the Mobile Hub of Microsoft Office apps, staff could work with documents using a familiar interface, and user-preferences in Mobile Outlook make inboxes easy to manage. Most important, the phone neatly integrated with our IRM system.”

“Windows Phone has the ability to read and respond to an Active Directory rights-protected email built into the native operating system,” says Brett Gordon, Windows Phone Enterprise Sales Manager, Microsoft. “It extends comprehensive document security control into mobile email, where it’s often most needed.”

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* Mobile information rights management is a huge breakthrough for our company. It gives off-site staff instant access to secure dada and preserves their rapid response capability. *

Brian Walshe,
General Manager,
Microsoft Solutions Infrastructure,
Dimension Data

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“What’s more, the ability to integrate Windows Phone with other Microsoft infrastructure improves security and communications capabilities. You can extend Microsoft Lync onto smartphones, so remote staff can instantly assess colleagues’ availability or have instant messaging conversations with multiple colleagues.”

In early 2012, Nokia released the Lumia 800 with the updated Windows Phone 7.5 software release, which featured in-built Twitter and LinkedIn apps,
voice-to-text functionality, the ability to combine different email accounts into a single inbox, and improved social media photo-management features.

“When the new Nokia smartphones appeared, a lot of staff started requesting them,” says Walshe. “It raised the bar in terms of industrial design for Windows Phone and delivered the quality that Nokia are famous for: rock-solid hardware, great voice quality and reliability in terms of picking up and holding a signal. As a result, over the past 18 months the Windows Phone smartphones have been popular.”

Benefits

Windows Phone smartphones have delivered exactly the balance of secure email and social usability that Dimension Data executives needed for their staff.

Enhancing security for mobile email

Dimension Data can now extend full information rights management service capabilities to all documents received on smartphones, enhancing security without compromising response times.

“Everything is managed through Active Directory. It is very simple from the user’s perspective, and most of the staff don’t realise their phone is collaborating in keeping documents secure.”

“Mobile information rights management is a huge breakthrough for our business. It gives off-site staff instant access to secure data and preserves their rapid response capability.”

Integrating with core Office applications

The blend of updated Microsoft Office applications and integration with other Microsoft applications also enhances usability.

“The Windows Phone Office Hub interface is very fast and intuitive, which means staff can work with Word and Excel documents in a similar way to how they work from a PC,” says Walshe. “Now it’s easy to make minor changes to Excel spreadsheets and send them straight back to a colleague or client.”

“Integration with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 also enables staff to quickly access and consult protected project documentation stored on our in-house servers,” he adds. “And we will shortly launch Lync on mobile phones, so that staff can remotely monitor colleagues’ contact status.”

Combining business and personal utility

Walshe believes that he has succeeded in his prime endeavour – to find a phone that meets everyone’s requirements.

“A couple of years ago we had staff carrying two mobiles; their personal device and the work phone,” he says. “Windows Phone bridged that gap between a personal device and a work phone. That’s a testament to staff satisfaction.”

“Now, we have phones that give staff almost instant access to critical but confidential business information, and they have phones they love using.”

Microsoft product that was featured

Windows Phone is the only mobile operating system with Live Tiles, designed to keep you closer to the people and things that matter most to you. A live Start screen presents instant updates from company and personal email client accounts, social media as well as over 110,000 Microsoft, manufacturer and third-party Apps.

With Microsoft Office Hub, customers can readily work with familiar applications; including Word, PowerPoint and OneNote, and store 7GB of personal content for free using SkyDrive. Customers have access to over 110,000 Windows Phone Apps.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services call the sales and information line on 13 20 58 Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm AEST. To find a partner or solution, visit www.microsoft.com/australia/findapartner/

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 1700 employees

Organization Profile
Dimension Data is one of the world’s largest systems integration companies, helping thousands of businesses deploy new communications and IT capabilities. Dimension Data is a member of Japan-based NTT Group and has six offices in Australia, which employ 1,700 professional staff.

Business Situation
With consultants spending much of their time offsite, they needed to be able to respond rapidly to confidential emails; however, many of the smartphones staff used could not open documents protected by the firm’s information rights management (IRM) software.

Solution
From 2010, the IT department started issuing Windows Phone smartphones that integrate with the firm’s Active Directory Rights Management Services. With Windows Phones staff are able to open sensitive documents and spreadsheets on their phones, and allows the firm to deploy latest-generation IRM safeguards.

Benefits
  • Enhancing security for mobile email
  • Integrating with core Office applications
  • Combining business and personal utility 

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Active Directory Directory Services
  • Microsoft Mobile Explorer
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Windows Phone Application Platform

Vertical Industries
Other

Country/Region
Australia

Business Need
Business Productivity

IT Issue
Personal Productivity

Languages
English

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