British American Tobacco mobilises workforce

British American Tobacco has embarked on a company-wide mobilisation strategy with the help of a new mobile management platform.


British American Tobacco has embarked on a company-wide mobilisation strategy with the help of a new mobile management platform.

BAT is using the Excitor DME (dynamic mobile exchange) system to help meet strict data security requirements and support the company's business goals for mobility.

The company wanted to address the current IT consumerisation trend and support staff choosing and using their own iPhone, iPad and Android devices at work.

The Excitor system gives BAT "complete control over corporate data on mobile devices, without compromising the privacy of staff's personal data, which is kept separate and private to the user", the tobacco firm said.

Phil Colman, chief information officer at BAT, said: "With the pace, scale and complexity of our business increasing, our workforce needs the tools to support them in doing their job, in the way they wish to do it.

"However, with the rapid development of new and more powerful smartphones it would be expensive to keep pace with new technology and provide these as 'secured' corporate devices."

Colman said DME enables BAT to securely separate corporate data from personal files, allowing the use of employees' personal devices at work for the first time.

Excitor's application mobilisation platform, AppBox, also offers the flexibility to create and deploy business applications on the "corporate" area of the mobile device, and provide secure access to services such as the BAT intranet or holiday approval system.

Colman said the mobile management system would be used in over 180 countries to support 20,000 mobile workers "over the next few years".

BAT will initially look to support mobile email and personal information management (PIM), including contact lists and calendar functions.

The company will then move on to richer functions like RSS feeds within the secure partition, and business applications including a full corporate directory, a procurement viewer for reviewing and approving purchase orders, travel approvals and intranet services, all through Excitor's mobile enterprise application platform (MEAP).

In other mobile working news, IBM has embraced the growing "bring your own device" (BYOD) trend of allowing employees to buy and use their own smartphones and tablets for work tasks.

By the end of the year, 100,000 IBM employees will be able to connect handheld devices of their choosing to IBM's internal networks, which have recently been fortified to provide enhanced mobile security. Another 100,000 employees will be brought on board in 2012, for a total of 200,000 people, or about half of IBM's global workforce.

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