Shropshire council in UK is making the move from Blackberry to Windows Phone, and are set to save £500,000 from its IT budget due to this.
ICT Manager Barry Wilkinson explained that by moving from 800 Blackberry handsets to Windows Phone, the council saved hundreds of thousands of pounds mainly due to retiring its Sophos and BlackBerry licensing costs.
The council, already Office 365 customers, is also heavily investing in the rest of the Microsoft mobile ecosystem, including replacing their 400 iPads with Surface Pro 3 tablets, which Wilkinson notes offer more functionality and fit better into the Windows ecosystem.
He is replacing their Sophos MDM solution with Microsoft Intune and Exchange, and notes this does not have the problems Sophos had with taking a long time to enrol new devices and losing ones already registered.
He first started the transition 18 months ago and said:
“I was quite excited with Windows Phone because there was a lot of talk in the media at that point around how that single level ecosystem now exists so it doesn’t matter if it was your PC, tablet or your phone, it’s that familiarity.”
“Not only did Windows Phone give us things like Office 365 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, it also means I can deliver Windows-based apps into a phone environment,” says Wilkinson.
The council was also able to roll out a custom app called Care First, which helped social workers organize their community visits, provide access to client information and helped them complete reports on the road, without having to come back to the office to type them up, meaning instead of only seeing two clients per day they could see many more.
“Typically they used to be able to see two people a day,” says Wilkinson. “Having access to proper mobile kit and devices that access not only Wi-Fi but 3G services means we can get job requests to them immediately.”
“It’s a big, big step,” confirms Wilkinson. It also helps the council with its drive to reduce its premises as much as possible, encouraging remote working as way to reduce costs.
He hoped to have further benefit from transitioning to Windows 10 in the future.
“For me Windows 10 brings some of the funky bits of Windows 8 to a recognisable Windows 7,” he states.
“We might not need to go to Windows 8.1. It is quite exciting. Windows 8 is different, it’s the whole tiles and desktop, whereas Windows 10 is tiles if you want them, start menu if you’d rather. For me that’s an easier step.”
The difference in how staff were able to work was enormous.
“All of a sudden IT’s becoming fun again. No longer is it a blocker, it’s more of an enabler, it’s all about making not only your life easier, but other people’s lives easier.”
Read more about the transition at ITPro.co.uk