Back in 2009, Sunbelt Rentals, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ashtead Group and one of the largest equipment rental companies in the United States, decided to introduce iPhones to its sales force. “We had zero technology in our sales force,” Sunbelt Rentals’ director of enterprise architecture Dean Moore told RCR Wireless News. Moore was looking for the right device when he discovered Apple’s iPhone.
Up until that point, the company had used traditional processes and was looking for a solution that could help its sales team with five particular tasks: ensure availability, access the latest pricing, provide immediacy of response and book and improve the quality of the customer’s experience.
Sunbelt Rentals started to deploy its mobile strategy using iPhones with an embedded corporate application. One of the main objectives was to increase the sales force’s awareness of both the availability of the company’s fleet and the related real-time rates. At the start of the project, Sunbelt purchased iPhones for approximately 1,200 of its sales people.
“We customized the iPhone to include a corporate app, which was developed in-house. It was a sales force automatization app,” Moore said. Apple’s device was chosen because of the high quality of its user experience. The next step was to acquire a mobile device management tool. AirWatch software was chosen to provide the company with remote enterprise mobile device management yet one that was still within Sunbelt’s secure architecture.
The adoption of the AirWatch solution has changed the way the company manages its devices. After an acquisition of a new iPhone or iPad, the devices are shipped directly to the user. Separately, Sunbelt Rentals sends out instructions that include a URL address. When the users have both, they start their devices, go to the URL and fill their names and employee IDs. Once connected, the AirWatch process takes over to completely configure the device, implement security settings and load all the relevant Sunbelt applications.
Moore noted that the company does not put restrictions on the devices. “The line between personal and corporate is gray. We incentivize employees to install games and videos, and let their kids use the devices. This is the key for our success because it eliminates the fear of using these tools, and the adoption is bigger,” Moore said when asked about the bring-your-own-devices trend.
Moore believes that if companies are too restrictive, they will lose their audience quickly. That’s why adding an MDM solution helps firms to manage BYOD.
This year, Sunbelt Rentals introduced iPads, following a new custom CRM application. Today, iPhones are used as a tactical device, while the iPad is strategic—primarily because it has so much more space to work with and opens up new possibilities.
Deployment of this phase began last January when the company gave 1,400 sales employees iPads and additional mobile tools.
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