Real estate agency Foxtons wanted to enhance employee mobility by deploying smartphones that run the Windows Phone 8 operating system and two productivity-boosting apps. But Foxtons needed to be able to remotely manage and secure the devices.
To deliver this solution, Foxtons subscribed to the Windows Intune PC and mobile device management solution. Employees now use their smartphones to conduct business from anywhere, furthering their reputation for fast, attentive service.
Foxtons business style and responsive customer service is influenced by the frenetic pace of life in London. The real estate agency’s unique café-style offices are open until 8 P.M. on week days and until 5 P.M. on weekends and bank holidays with 38
percent of Foxtons viewings occurring during evenings and weekends.
“Our custom-designed MINI vehicles, used by estate agents to drive buyers and tenants around the city, exemplify the mobile nature of our business,” says Gurdip Kundi, Senior System Engineer at Foxtons. “But even as our estate agents are rushing around,
they need to stay in contact with the office and colleagues. We wanted to give them connected mobility as one of the ways that we stay ahead of competitors.”
To reinforce its competitive advantage, Foxtons deployed approximately 900 Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones that run the Windows Phone 8 operating system in December 2012.
“We see technology as a massive business asset that helps us stay ahead of our competitors,” says Kundi. “We chose Microsoft technologies because we wanted customers to see Foxtons agents out in the field with the best tools in their hands, before anyone
else. We opted for Windows Phone 8 because we were excited by the potential of building apps for the phone that would interoperate seamlessly with our corporate IT environment.”
To start, Foxtons wanted to deploy two touch-enabled Windows Phone apps: an enhanced corporate directory that makes it fast and easy to connect with colleagues and facilitate internal communication. A second application, named mBOS, would provide real-time
key business information and team management. This second app would come in three varieties; one each for senior staff, branch managers, and key management. But before the company could deploy these applications, it needed to find the right mobile device management
“The smarter our phones get, the more we need to secure and manage them,” says Kundi. “We needed a central management platform to set appropriate security policies and remotely deploy our apps.”
After researching possible solutions, Foxtons chose the Windows Intune PC and mobile device management service solution from Microsoft that provides both cloud-based and on-premises capabilities. IT employees use the cloud-based Windows Intune console
to remotely run mobile device management tasks, including software distribution and self-service application delivery, and to handle remote support.
||By adding Windows Intune to our environment … we can deploy, secure, and manage mobile apps that staff use to move faster than the competition and drive business.
| Gurdip Kundi
Senior Systems Engineer, Foxtons
“We determined that Windows Intune was a more robust offering than its competitors,” says Kundi. “In early 2013 when we adopted it, we saw a comprehensive road map, and since then, we’ve been impressed with the rapid release cycles of Windows Intune. Plus,
we felt that Microsoft was very supportive and keen to listen to our feedback.”
Today, four IT employees at Foxtons use Windows Intune to manage approximately 900 smartphones and a handful of iPads that are used by management staff. The corporate directory app is deployed to all mobile devices and the mBOS app is deployed to approximately
250 devices used by senior staff, branch managers, and key management.
“We found that the flexibility of Windows Intune made it simple to assign security polices and deploy different versions of our apps to different departments and user groups,” says Kundi. “We publish our apps, and any updates, to our company portal. Employees
can download the apps to their smartphones when and where it’s convenient.”
Foxtons plans on integrating Windows Intune with the Configuration Manager component of System Center 2012 R2 data center technologies so that IT staff can use a single console to manage all office PCs and mobile devices.
Foxtons considers the Windows Phone 8 smartphones a powerful new tool in the hands of its employees, one that reinforces the company’s reputation for business innovation and contributes to responsive customer service. “By adding Windows Intune to our
environment, we filled the essential requirement of mobile device management,” says Kundi. “Now we can deploy, secure, and manage mobile apps that staff use to move faster than the competition and drive business.”
Since subscribing to Windows Intune, Foxtons has achieved the following benefits:
Improved mobile productivity and service. Because Foxtons uses Windows Intune to secure and manage employees’ devices, the solution plays a crucial role in enabling the connected mobility that contributes to the company’s competitive advantage.
Today, when Foxtons employees head out of the office, they have everything they need on their smartphones to provide stellar customer service. “Thanks to Windows Intune, employees on the move can use the corporate directory app and the mBOS app—no one has
to return to the office for anything in between appointments,” says Kundi.
Improved security. Foxtons would not have been able to deploy the smartphones without securing the devices. IT staff used Windows Intune to set personal identification number (PIN) and password policies, to enable remote wiping of devices,
and to block any unenrolled device from accessing the corporate network. “After adopting Windows Intune, we could deploy our mobile productivity platform with the confidence that our IT environment would remain secure,” says Kundi.
Reduced development time and IT management. If IT staff did not have Windows Intune to centrally deploy new iterations of the apps to target test groups, it would have taken many more weeks to develop the apps. “Our IT staff can deliver
more quickly on business goals by using Windows Intune,” says Kundi.
Foxtons also uses Windows Intune to expedite remote support. Agents no longer have to take their damaged smartphones back to the office or wait for an engineer to help them in the field, which saves many hours a month.
“Even if we have to reset a phone, it’s easy for the employee to log on to our portal and download the apps again,” says Kundi. “Overall, our experience with Windows Intune has reinforced the business advantage we gain by using the latest technologies from
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