Municipal housing company Bostaden is far ahead with its IT environment. The organisation uses thin clients with PC over IP and the number of mobile devices is constantly growing. Bostaden uses Endpoint Central and Mobile Device Management, MDM, from ManageEngine to ensure that the clients and the devices function properly and are updated and to keep track of what mobile devices there are.
ManageEngine’s Endpoint Central is a program for handling stationary and mobile devices all together from a central point. Endpoint Central for example makes it easier to distribute and upgrade software, install patches, manage licences, identify hardware problems and provide support through the remote desktop. It is easy to monitor statistics and check the health of the virtual computers.
When Bostaden began using Endpoint Central a few years ago the idea was to be able to manage and maintain all its clients in an entirely new way compared to before. The objective was proactiveness and efficiency. “Previously our days or an IT consultant’s time were filled with a great deal of manual work installing and configuring computers, upgrading software, troubleshooting and providing support,” says Rickard Bäckström, IT engineer at Bostaden and responsible for Endpoint Central and MDM. It was time-consuming and stressful and a feeling of being one step behind was often not far away. Endpoint Central fitted into Bostaden’s way of thinking ahead very well.
A tool that makes things easier
The thin clients are based on a PC over IP solution where hardware from Samsung is combined with software from Teradici. In practice, people can log in from any device and continue working where they left off. The solution is very practical for meetings, when you are giving a presentation, when you are out and about, and if you switch places with a colleague.
After Endpoint Central had been in use for a time it was natural to take the next step and improve the way the mobile devices are managed and handled.The number of mobile devices at Bostaden is growing all the time; they are in constant use in the field by area landlords and caretakers and also by the company’s other officers. Since MDM is a relatively new phenomenon at Bostaden, the number of users is increasing all the time. “We have quadrupled the number of licences for mobile devices in about a year,” Rickard Bäckström goes on.
“We have quadrupled the number of licences for mobile devices in about a year,” Rickard Bäckström goes on.
Fits well into the system
It was natural to choose MDM because Bostaden already uses Endpoint Central. The MDM solution was a good choice.
“The combination of Desktop Central (now Endpoint Central) and MDM is totally right for us. We get a basic structure for all clients and mobile devices that we didn’t have before. Now we can be certain that everything is updated and that we have control of all our mobile devices,” Richard goes on.
Rickard Bäckström is an IT engineer with extensive experience from several large and medium-size organisations and companies and he is satisfied.
“MDM has made our work much easier. Before we needed to do a lot of unnecessary extra work if a new person joined the company, someone left, or someone simply got a new phone. This is now all done simply via the system. We get a uniformity in the configuration and we can distribute all the programs or patches to everyone at the same time.”
Uniformity with freedom of choice
Bostaden’s solution for its stationary clients is built on a basic configuration that is shared by for example all devices with Windows and Microsoft Office and there are a handful of packages with software and services that can be chosen and installed for people who have specific needs in their work. These might for example be Bluebeam for drawings, Adobe programs, different web browsers or Notepad.
On the mobile devices MDM sits directly on the desktop an contains the apps that are shared and useful for Bostaden’s staff. “The apps and services in our basic package are good tools. They’re useful even if they’re not typically traditional, such as for vehicle checks, translation or directory search services.”
One example of the benefits of MDM is the in-house developed app based on Bostaden’s “Pondus” property management system that all the company’s area landlords use when they inspect a flat when a tenant moves. The app is in constant use and links directly to Bostaden’s business system. Thanks to MDM the area landlords can always feel secure that the service functions and it can always be kept up to date on all mobile devices. Another advantage with MDM is that its functions can be factory-assured or cleared of all user and company-unique information, which simplifies the work that needs to be done if someone leaves the company or loses their phone.
A natural solution
“The users probably don’t notice Desktop Central (now Endpoint Central) or MDM very much and for us that means we’ve been successful. For them it just has to work, they shouldn’t have to worry about what goes on behind the scenes.”
Endpoint Central and MDM were introduced in collaboration with UDK.
“UDK are a good support in our work and they’ve handled the projects well. They know a lot about the programs and understand our needs. All in all, this has meant that we’ve achieved the purpose of becoming more efficient. The new way of working has proven to be a great success,” Rickard Bäckström says.
About the Customer
- Bostaden is a public utility housing company and Umeå’s biggest provider of flats and student flats.
- Bostaden currently has about 180 employees and manages approximately 15,500 flats.
- For Bostaden it is important that tenants feel secure, are given professional service, and live in homes that consider the environment.