news Finnish smartphone seller Nokia today added another name to the growing public list of large Australian organisations which have decided to deploy its Windows Phone-based Lumia line as their corporate smartphone, with food manufacturer Sara Lee picking the series ahead of competing options from Apple and Android.
In a statement released this morning, Nokia said that food manufacturing company Kitchens of Sara Lee had chosen to upgrade its smartphone fleet to the Nokia Lumia 800 model. “Sara Lee chose Nokia Lumia over Blackberry, iPhone and other handsets running the Android operating system,” Nokia’s statement said.
Sara Lee IT program manager Michael Holt said in Nokia’s statement that the vendor’s reputation for building “quality, feature-rich devices”, as well as “its proven track record in the field” were key factors in the company’s Lumia decision. “We considered alternatives such as iPhone and Samsung, however, Nokia Lumia was a clear winner,” said Holt. “The Windows Phone platform offers a stronger enterprise solution, which provides better back and front office integration for the Sara Lee business.”
“One major advantage with Nokia Lumia is that more staff can access Microsoft’s Lync Enterprise Voice, which has resulted in an increase in communication, collaboration and productivity across all levels of the business. We have effectively been able to utilise our own enterprise telephony solution directly from the mobile device,” Holt said.
According to Holt, integration with familiar business tools such as Outlook, Internet Explorer, Word, Excel and PowerPoint was “seamless”, while access to Nokia services such as the company’s turn by turn navigation system had also been a key benefit for the company’s sales team. “The native Microsoft Office integration is a real bonus. Staff are now able to access and edit documents on the fly and exchange sales collateral with customers,” Holt said.
Another advantage for Sara Lee was the ability to control the devices centrally. “Our Mobile Device Management (MDM) tool, developed by Airloom, is called Silverback and was recommended to us by our technology partners Microsoft and Optus. The tool provides us with enterprise-wide control over the mobile device fleet, and also allows us to publish corporate approved mobile applications to our users,” Holt said.
To date, more than 70 handsets on the Optus network have been deployed to Sara Lee staff, ranging from operational workers on the factory floor and admin staff through to the sales teams on the road and executives in the boardroom, with more expected in the future. Sara Lee has some 500 staff across Australia in total.
The company said that before making the switch, it had question marks around whether the Windows Phone 7 user interface might be hard for staff to get used to, but in fact, it said, employees’ experience of the handsets had been “the opposite”. “The Nokia Lumia is so intuitive and easy-to-use,” Holt said. “Feedback about the live tiles has been particularly positive, staff can get the most fundamental tasks done much more quickly and there is more information available on the home screen compared to the static Android or iOS setup.”
“Microsoft and Nokia have also provided us with excellent direct support, including hands on training sessions by Nokia at our two major sites in Gordon and Lisarow, which was very well received by staff. This support has made the transition from a less sophisticated fleet of handsets much smoother.”
Holt said there was scope to increase the user base of Nokia Lumia within the business, with plans to move to the upcoming Windows Phone 8 platform and deploy additional handsets in the future. “We believe the Nokia and Microsoft partnership provides a leading mobile solution from both an operating system and hardware view point. With the upcoming Windows Phone 8 release, we’re expecting to see further innovations that will enhance collaboration and productivity in the business,” the IT manager said.
Sara Lee is only the latest major Australian organisation to switch to the Lumia line. In late May, the Australian division of tyre manufacturer Bridgestone has also picked Nokia’s Windows Phone 7-based Lumia 800 smartphone as its platform of choice for its corporate smartphone fleet, and in June it was construction firm Buildcorp which announced its intention to adopt the Lumia series.
However, things haven’t all gone Nokia’s way. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia, for example, recently revealed it would standardise its mobile phone fleet on the Apple iPhone, and Woolworths also recently confirmed it would dump the Blackberry platform for the iPhone. Rollouts of Android models in corporate environments appears to be more thin on the ground locally, however.
Nokia appears to really be on a tear in Australia when it comes to corporate deployments of its Lumia series; owing much, no doubt, to the easy integration which Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform enjoys with the rest of its market-dominating enterprise IT infrastructure. However, I also have no doubt that below the surface, Apple iPhones are everywhere. Let’s not forget that Apple doesn’t tend to issue press releases about corporate deployments of the iPhone, whereas Microsoft and Nokia have been issuing regular statements in this area recently.
Image credit: Nokia