In Tune, In Sync: BlackBerry and Microsoft Work Together to Help This Major Bank Deliver Better Mobile Productivity

View As PDF See all Success Stories

At a Glance

This major financial services organization manages several hundred billion dollars in combined assets per year, assisting more than ten million clients annually. To help its employees work more effectively and provide better service, it allows them to use personal devices in the workplace. Recently, those employees have been demanding native support for Microsoft® Office apps.

Seeking a way to fulfill that request, the organization engaged with BlackBerry.

The Organization

This major financial organization provides its clients with a wide range of services including retirement planning, investment advice, and insurance. With several hundred billion dollars in combined assets under management, clients trust the firm with some of their most sensitive assets – meaning that if it is to keep its strong industry reputation, it must place an enormous premium on security.

However, usability also matters to the organization’s decision makers. They understand that their IT department cannot simply lock down its workers in the interest of protecting financial data. They need to enable those workers to be more efficient, effective, and productive.

Decision makers at the firm decided to shift their infrastructure entirely offsite to be managed by a third party, freeing up its IT professionals to focus more on creating new workflows and building new processes. As part of this transition, the firm began seeking a way to provide secure native Microsoft® Office support for employee’s personally-owned devices.

The Challenge

From an IT standpoint, the financial services organization has two goals: to comply with industry regulations while protecting its data, and to provide a user experience that supports mobile productivity. To that end, providing native Microsoft® Office applications on its smartphones and tablets was a natural move – which allows its users to use the same apps across desktops and mobile devices.

As a long-time customer of BlackBerry, the organization switched to BlackBerry® Dynamics and BlackBerry® Work from Good for Enterprise® several years ago. BlackBerry Dynamics, an advanced container for mobile apps, provides a foundation for secure enterprise mobility – a foundation which BlackBerry Work, a leading mobile collaboration and productivity tool, is built on. Both solutions proved popular with the organization’s IT department and its end-users.

The ability to support the securely mobilized Microsoft® Exchange email was a significant draw. Now that the firm is mobilizing Office 365®, BlackBerry was the natural choice for this next stage of their strategy.

Last year, prior to renewing their services with BlackBerry, the organization briefly evaluated AirWatch®. Finding AirWatch’s mobile apps lacking after testing, the organization’s decision makers ultimately decided that they would be more comfortable sticking with what they knew. However, another competitor quickly emerged – Microsoft® Intune.

“With AirWatch®, we quickly proved to the client that it wasn’t going to be a compatible solution, but Intune was a free technology, which created interest,” explains the BlackBerry Account Manager responsible for working with the organization. “The big thing the firm wanted was access to native Office apps. The entire userbase demanded it, but IT still needed to retain control over sensitive data.”

On paper, Intune seemed like the best way to provide this. However, there were certain functionalities the organization needed that Intune could not provide. These included the ability to access fileshares and retrieve documents through Enterprise Docs, two-factor authentication, single-sign-on, and several other features inherent to BlackBerry Work – and not present in Microsoft® Intune.

“In our conversations with the organization, we focused on use cases,” says the BlackBerry Account Manager. “We asked them how they would securely connect an application on a BYOD device back to a corporate network. Microsoft didn’t have an answer for that in their portfolio unless the device has a VPN installed on it – not only is that an inconvenience for employees, but it’s also an added and unnecessary cost.”

These conversations ultimately led decision makers to BlackBerry® UEM, an intuitive, multiplatform endpoint management platform. They also installed the BlackBerry® Enterprise BRIDGE, which both connects BlackBerry UEM to the Microsoft® Intune Container, and allows it to support the Microsoft® Intune Graph API.

If we look at things from a usability perspective, there are certain things we can do that most competitors can’t – VPN-less architecture chief among them. That coupled with BlackBerry Access® and the fact that we were already in-house made this a win for both sides.

Account Manager,

The Solution

Thanks to BlackBerry, the organization will be able to deploy the native Microsoft® Office suite to all its employees using BlackBerry UEM. More importantly, they will do so while easily monitoring and managing their applications through BlackBerry UEM’s single-screen interface. This is due to the new BlackBerry Enterprise BRIDGE application for Microsoft® Intune, which allows data to seamlessly and securely be shared between BlackBerry Dynamics applications and Microsoft® Intune managed apps.

“When we mentioned to the organization what we were doing with the integration of BlackBerry and Microsoft, they were ecstatic,” the BlackBerry Account Manager recalls. “When they found out they already owned the licensing from Microsoft, that sealed the deal – it was a win for all three organizations.

There were several other factors that tipped the scale in BlackBerry’s favor.

First, its product portfolio simply provided a better user experience for both IT and end users. Second, BlackBerry’s team also played a large role in the organization’s decision, arming the firm’s decision makers with enough knowledge to know that they could not achieve the necessary functionality with Intune alone. Third, BlackBerry was also what employees and IT staff in the organization knew – they were familiar with our solutions, and they liked using them.

The Results

The organization plans to transition completely to a cloud-based infrastructure, enlisting a third party to help manage, monitor, and maintain its systems. Once it has finished that transition, it will complete its rollout of BlackBerry UEM, which will create several advantages and opportunities for the firm.

An Excellent, Secure User Experience: Because the firm’s device deployment is primarily BYOD, a positive user experience is of chief importance. With BlackBerry, the firm is able to provide this – and more importantly, it can do so without worrying about compromise. The BlackBerry Enterprise BRIDGE allows the organization to deploy native Microsoft® applications on its BYOD devices, connecting corporate data to office applications while still allowing IT to manage and control that data. More importantly, it achieves all this without impacting the end user.

Better Engagement with Corporate Apps: Once native Microsoft® Office applications are widely-available for staff and controllable from a data loss prevention perspective, the Account Manager expects that the organization will see an uptick in mobile productivity. Employees and executives will work from their mobile devices with greater frequency and engage more consistently with other mobile applications as a result.

Future Plans: Currently, the firm uses BlackBerry® Access exclusively so that workers can browse its corporate intranet. The firm’s next step after deploying BlackBerry UEM is to change this. It hopes to soon begin designing and deploying its own internal HTML5 web apps, creating new workflows and enhancing existing ones.

Beyond increasing its usage of BlackBerry Dynamics and BlackBerry Access, the organization may also engage further with ISV apps, provided user interest exists for them. They are also examining the BlackBerry Access desktop browser client for Windows and Mac OS X, which can be used to help workers access corporate email from their home computers while telecommuting.

Organization Profile 

Industry Financial Services
Employees 6,000+
Location North America