DLA Piper believes Windows 8 could be the catalyst for its next mobility refresh

By Sooraj Shah
23 Jun 2014 View Comments
Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with Type Cover and stylus

The Windows 8 operating system could be the catalyst for law firm DLA Piper's next mobility refresh, according to the organisation's head of applications technology, Jason Plant.

Plant told delegates at Computing's Enterprise Mobility Summit in London, that the law firm has always tried to harness the latest technology to help its workforce to become more mobile.

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After issuing its staff with laptops with a VPN connection, the firm moved on to offer BlackBerrys, at a time when the Canadian manufacturer was fighting it out with Microsoft's ActiveSync application to offer the best mobile work experience.

"Then came the iPhone, which changed everything, and then the iPad, which changed things further, and as an IT department we lost control," Plant said, adding that the firm was becoming increasingly concerned that staff were using their personal devices to do work.

Decisions on devices

To address this issue, the firm brought in its own cloud desktop solution, built on Citrix, that staff could access from any Mac or PC.

Plant explained that the organisation had been looking at a desktop refresh programme four years ago as a way to cut costs.

"We were trying to limit the costs for people, so we were trying to get to the place where you have the desktop in the office and use the technology at home on your own devices – including being able to log-in at a client's workplace," he said.

DLA Piper was a BlackBerry shop, but it had concerns about the Canadian manufacturer going forward. According to Plant, the law firm was sceptical about whether the company "was still going to exist" in the future.

Its lawyers were also asking to be able to choose their own device, with many leaning towards Apple's iPhone, and so the company looked into a mobile device management (MDM) solution.

"We firstly looked at getting email secure and looked at Good Technology – it worked for a while but it didn't really work for corporate devices," he said.

As the firm wanted to move away from BlackBerry, the question remained which vendor's mobile devices to officially endorse.

"There were question marks with Android security over fragmentation, although Samsung Knox may help us with that," he stated.

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