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Several years ago, the IT team at Gelita AG was given a challenge – to meet the productivity needs of an increasingly mobile and global workforce without compromising the security of its corporate data.
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The company supplies collagen proteins to product manufacturers across the globe, and its client base includes firms that operate in the food, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.
To ensure it can meet the local needs of its global clients, Gelita has offices dotted across the world, including China, Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
Until relatively recently, only a small proportion of its global workforce could do their jobs with the aid of mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets were handed out to staff on a “vote of confidence” basis.
David Rochell, head of global system management and services at Gelita, says devices were issued on an “as requested and when required” basis.
“I joined the company in August 2014, and up to that point in time, mobile devices had been set up for VPN access but there was no real management in place, and users were responsible for them,” he said.
“If they had a problem with a device, they would come to the service desk, but there was no direct management as regards security.”
The process of issuing devices was largely manual and hugely time-consuming. So, with the mobility demands of its global workforce increasing, the company set out to find a system that would improve the productivity of its teams while ensuring the data on their devices remained secure.
“Our goal was to have a solution that could totally secure all of the Gelita data, no matter what type it is, and no matter if it is used on a day-to-day basis or for a one-off project,” said Rochell.
“We also wanted a way of increasing productivity for travelling users, because they should be able to work productively in whatever branch office they’re in.”
Assessing the options
With this in mind, Gelita set about evaluating its technology options. This resulted in its Eberbach team meeting with mobile device management supplier Cortado about two years ago, says the company’s CIO, Armin Lungwitz.
“We had a meeting with them on site, where we did a brief introduction of what we do, but at that point they were not close to buying anything or getting the project up and running – they just wanted a brief overview of what is possible and on the market,” he says.
“They were looking for a way to hand devices out on a global scale with minimal administrative effort.”
What Gelita wanted to know specifically, says Lungwitz, was how to simplify the enrolment and management of new devices, while ensuring their setup complies with corporate data protection deadlines and allows devices to be wiped remotely if they are lost or stolen.
After showing Gelita how the Cortado Corporate Server could fulfil its requirements, Cortado received a call-back from Gelita in mid-2015, marking the official start of the deployment.
“We looked at all different types of solutions, but Cortado was the clear choice for us because although being a young company, it had a product that looked good and offered the functionality to meet Gelita’s requirements,” says Rochell.
The setup would allow Gelita staff to access documents stored on company drives, and connect to the company’s network printers that might normally be off-limits to mobile devices or inaccessible via the corporate Wi-Fi network.
The fact that Cortado is also based in Germany ticked another the box, says Rochell. “They are right around the corner, so we would have the benefit of direct contact with them when we needed it,” he says.
Start local to go global
Gelita took a piecemeal approach to deploying the Cortado technology, starting the roll-out with its German workforce. Then, buoyed by the initial success of that, Gelita set a plan in motion to expand the use of the technology to all its sites around the world.
Lungwitz says Cortado’s professional services division is making good progress on the system’s global roll-out. It is now up and running in several major Gelita branch offices in North America, South America, Mexico, Asia-Pacific and Sweden.
“Each office has its own administration teams on site and that ensures that the guys working in Gelita’s German HQ spend as little time as possible getting the other branch offices up and running, which is a big plus point,” says Lungwitz.
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The company is also reaping other benefits from embarking on the project. Lungwitz points to the increase in employee satisfaction levels that Gelita has seen as a direct result of its mobile strategy.
“Employees are happy that they get a device from the company, and the IT manager of Gelita is happy because he knows it is difficult to prevent users from wanting to use their own private mobile devices in a company context,” says Lungwitz.
“What Gelita is saying is, if you want work with company data on a mobile device, take one that is under our supervision and we can manage how it is utilised.”
With most of Gelita’s workforce now enrolled on the Cortado Corporate Service, Lungwitz says his firm is looking for ways to build on the deployment by providing users with additional functionality.
As an example, he cites the product’s Virtual Data Room capability – a Dropbox-style environment that will pave the way for Gelita to share data with external stakeholders and other third parties without it leaving the premises.
“Data can be reviewed by members without the data leaving the premises of the company, so you can set up a virtual room, so employees and other companies working with Gelita can access sensitive data in a very secure way,” he adds.