How did Cushman & Wakefield curb spiralling mobile data costs?

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The challenge

Being a global company, it is critical for Cushman & Wakefield’s employees to travel overseas for face-to-face meetings with clients, colleagues, contractors and suppliers. The majority of the company’s international travel takes place in Europe, but occasionally its staff venture much further for business, to places like the United States, Africa and Australia.

The company’s staff were originally given BlackBerry devices, which were working well for basic email connectivity, but giving staff access to more web services would improve operational efficiencies. Recognizing this opportunity, the company’s UK, German and French operations underwent a major change, switching from BlackBerry to iPhones and at the same time they each did a full laptop refresh. The project was a significant one, and took more than three months to complete.

“One of our UK-based managers went to Australia for work and while he was there he watched a YouTube video on his phone. The bill ended up being £2,500. We couldn’t foresee this.”

– Robert Fallon, IT Manager, Cushman & Wakefield

With the migration successfully finished, the 2,000 corporate-owned devices now in the hands of Cushman & Wakefield employees are mostly iPhones, and a small number of people also have iPads. Equipped with these powerful new devices, staff began using more services that consume large amounts of data like YouTube, Spotify and Netflix. Naturally, the increase in data consumption and resulting cost became a real concern for the company, especially when users were roaming.

The company’s IT Manager, Robert Fallon, knew its telecommunications provider was never likely to cap that sort of unpredictable data usage. At the time, the IT team realized that although they could try to create an acceptable usage policy, he would have no way to enforce one.

It also became clear that staff didn’t need to be overseas to exceed data allowances and incur excessive mobile data charges. Even within the UK, the company’s employees are always on the move, accessing maps and video services over a cellular connection.

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