YBS relies on Android Enterprise Recommended Nokia smartphones

Unified endpoint strategy with Nokia devices

Yorkshire Building Society (YBS), one of the largest building
societies in the UK, is renewing its mobile device infrastructure with the goal of providing its employees with the best possible working environment and implementing a unified endpoint strategy.

After extensive testing and market research, YBS decided to rely on Android™ and Nokia smartphones for the future. As a result, a better user experience, easier mobile device administration and advances in data and device security are expected.


Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) is the third largest building society in the UK. To compete at the top level in a highly competitive business sector, like YBS, you must offer first-class customer-oriented services on the one hand and equip your employees with the best possible tools on the other.

Mobile communication has become essential for most roles from C-level to employees in
sales and administration. “In view of the growing importance of mobile voice and data communication, we have faced the need to create a mobile strategy to keep pace with technical challenges in the long term,” Andrew Ellison, EUC Delivery Manager at YBS, explained.

A corporate-wide analysis in 2017 revealed that there were 1,412 mobile devices in use at YBS. Most of them were unmanaged, consumer-grade corporate handsets. Ellison said,

“Through an extensive RFP process and various exercises, we were able to reduce corporate connections by a third. The annual cost of the service was also brought down. In addition, we introduced a managed service with VMware Workspace ONE and Windows Mobile 10, utilising Windows Information Protection provided by O2”.

Ellison added: “In 2017, we decided against iOS and Android because the first seemed to be too restrictive and the second we judged to be not mature enough for business purposes.”

After the revision of the mobile communications strategy, YBS has 819 corporate-owned mobile devices, which are managed on the VMware Workspace ONE platform. 670 handsets are running Windows 10 Mobile whilst 37 legacy corporate handsets running iOS and the remainder are tablets with Android and iOS.

On top of that, there are 342 privately owned BYOD (bring your own device) handsets running iOS and Android. These are managed on a limited capacity by VMware Workspace ONE to deliver e-mail and calendar services.

Mobile devices are an essential part of a unified endpoint strategy

In the beginning of 2018, YBS reviewed its mobile strategy again. This was partly in view of Microsoft’s announcement to stop the development of Windows Mobile 10 in October 2017, but also reflected the need to adapt the terminal strategy to create a unified endpoint experience to support the convergence of technologies for smartphones and tablets.

To better understand the users’ needs, YBS conducted another poll among its employees in February 2018. Andrew Ellison said:

“Related to mobile communications, it was recognised that the platform and handsets delivered were a major improvement to the previous solution. Yet the survey revealed some disappointment with the inability to deliver more services to the corporate handsets. Colleagues still wanted a better COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) experience.”

After Google announced Android Enterprise Recommended in February 2018, YBS’s IT team conducted extensive research into iOS and Android to find the mobile endpoint solution that best suited the company’s needs. Android Enterprise supports features that makes the operating system very appealing to businesses.

Beside security improvements, it now integrates standardised APIs on a system level to facilitate device management via EMM (enterprise mobility management) independent from hardware. In addition, it offers a ‘containerised’ separation of work and private profiles, which supports both BYOD and COPE scenarios.

Android Enterprise Recommended: dedicated to business

Andrew Ellison said, “After three months of thorough testing and extended market research, we decided to migrate our mobile device infrastructure - including all devices with Windows Mobile 10 and legacy iOS phones and tablets - to Android, utilising devices that were certified ‘Android Enterprise Recommended’.”

The Android Enterprise Recommended programme includes a selection of smartphones that have been validated by Google and meet a set of requirements targeted at business usage.

“Thanks to the migration to Android, we will give our employees a good user experience and offer an extended set of services and software to them,” Ellison said.

The latter includes intranet access, Skype for Business, SharePoint, native e-mail, and calendar application support, plus access to colleagues’ home drive to allow viewing of documents created on YBS desktops and laptops. Last but not least, a YBS corporate app store, featured by Google Play, will facilitate the delivery and management of corporate apps to all managed Android devices. Ellison said,

With Android Enterprise we will be able to offer our colleagues a personal user experience on corporate owned devices without compromising security and manageability.”

Nokia smartphones offer regular security updates

YBS decided on the Nokia 7 Plus as its new corporate standard smartphone, after exploring numerous options from the Android Enterprise Recommended programme from different manufacturers. Ellison explained the reasons for this hardware decision:

“The feedback from pilot users was that the Nokia smartphone has a great, robust design with a smooth user interface and application experience. It also offers a good battery lifetime and delivers a consistent signal using cellular and Bluetooth® connectivity.”

He then added two more important purchase criteria:

“Firstly, while the Nokia 7 Plus offers high-end specifications, it’s still at an attractive, budget-friendly price. Secondly, HMD Global provides fast delivery of security patches to its Nokia smartphones for three years.”

The hardware decision to take Nokia 7 Plus as the standard corporate smartphone and the software decision in favour of Android, paves the way for a future-proof unified endpoint device strategy at YBS that includes smartphones, tablets, digital signage, and self-service.


About Yorkshire Building Society

Since its foundation in 1864, Yorkshire Building Society (YBS) has grown to be the third
largest building society in the UK with over 250 branches and local agencies across the
whole country. Following a series of successful building society mergers, YBS now includes
the businesses of former building societies Chelsea Building Society and Norwich &
Peterborough Building Society. With just under 5000 staff, YBS Group - headquartered in
Bradford, Yorkshire, England - provides financial services and insurance to its more than
three million members.

About HMD Global

Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, HMD Global Oy is the home of Nokia phones.
HMD designs and markets a range of smartphones and feature phones targeted at
a range of consumers and price points. With a commitment to innovation and quality,
HMD is the proud exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand for phones and tablets.
For further information, see www.hmdglobal.com. Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation. Android, Android One and other marks are trademarks of Google LLC