Case Study: Enterprise Mobility at Lego

By Stuart Sumner
12 Dec 2012 View Comments

At a time when many organisations are relaxing security protocols in order to benefit from the potential productivity gains of the BYOD trend, toy manufacturer Lego is preserving its policy of locking down the endpoint.

Further reading

"The Lego PC concept offers you a locked down PC with no admin rights," Lego CIO Henrik Amsinck told Computing recently. The rule of thumb is the PC comes pre-installed with 30 applications, but you can download another 300. It's very secure, but also very cost-effective."

Though the strategy is working well for the company, Amsinck is exploring alternatives such as virtual desktops, which he says would offer "greater freedom".

Despite this emphasis on security of the desktop, Lego goes allow employee-owned mobile devices to connect to parts of the corporate network.

"We allow iPhones and Windows phones to connect to an outer ring, but they don't touch the core. One of outer rings can connect the phone for mail and usual stuff. But we don't currently support the iPad."

Amsinck admits that Android isn't currently allowed to connect to any part of the network because the OS is not secure enough, in his opinion.

"I think it's a great OS, but it's too consumer-driven, so no protocols can be imposed that my security manager finds feasible."

But this is set to change. Lego is designing a new network infrastructure and new data centre which will support any device, anywhere, anytime.

"Consumerisation is not about what you want to implement as CIO, it's what happens when users get great technology and want to use it in their work."

Enterprise Appstores

Amsinck is a fan of the iPhone, and ascribes its success to the Appstore.

"People have hundreds of apps on their phones. I talk to my developers about ways to service users through an app that's so self-explanatory they can just use it - with no training or support required. You know how to use a screwdriver, or a hammer, but if you offer a multi-tool that does everything people get confused. They mostly just wanted a hammer, and it's the same with apps [that should simply do one thing well]."

He describes his vision of the future for a Lego appstore for employees, with every user given the apps they need and no more. He suggested that this would enable a significant cost saving.

"It would be useful for tasks like expense management and travel booking. Any receipt could instantly be uploaded, then you couldn't lose it even if your bag's stolen. It could be geotagged to show where it was taken and when. That would make the finance department happy."

Amsinck told Computing that Lego's strategy for the coming years is to focus on end-user centric development.

"We need to go outside-in now, asking what do you really use and need. There are so many UIs in users' faces - we throw a GUI in that can do thousands of things and people just want travel and expense management. So look at what makes a successful app, and create better support for end users.

"Some hardcore accounting people love to have a full desktop with shortcuts, but I don't like shortcuts because I can't remember them. It's all about the context."

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