Responsiveness and productivity increased with smartphones

The Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoD) has deployed the BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry smartphones to its entire management team to help them increase their productivity and make the most of their time.

The IoD directors use their BlackBerry smartphones for mobile email, voice, contacts, calendar and browsing the Internet. The solution has helped them to improve personal productivity since they can attend external meetings, interact with members, and take care of email without being tied to the office.

IoD is a non-profit membership institute for directors and leaders in the public and private sectors with over 4,000 members representing around 2,000 organizations, from small and medium enterprises to major multinationals.

With just 17 employees, the Institute is a lean organisation. Its managers spend most of their time out of the office, attending meetings, events, conducting training programmes, interacting with existing members and recruiting new members. "Our chief executive officer may only be in the office once a week spending most of the week out of the office travelling and attending meetings," says Michelle Blundell, Head of Marketing and Public Relations for the IoD. This situation was making it difficult for managers to keep in touch.


On-the-move solution

Although they could access email remotely on their laptop computers, it wasn't very convenient when travelling. As a result, emails would pile up when members of the management team were away. Furthermore this lack of connectivity was not compatible with the Institute's focus on professionalism: members and partners expect quick replies to their emails. By early 2009, it had become clear that the Institute needed to find a way to make management more responsive and productive when on the move.

After surveying the products available on the market the Institute decided to deploy a BlackBerry solution and arranged to test it with some of the management team. The reports from the field were enthusiastic. The members of the management team quickly felt at ease with the interface on the BlackBerry smartphone and enjoyed the comfort of the large display and full keyboard.

IoD installed a BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft Exchange. The IT administrator was impressed with the security of the solution - especially the ability to wipe data off a device.  As a result, email backlog is no longer an issue and office-based staff are able to keep in touch with travelling colleagues. Moreover, changes to appointments are no longer a source of frustration. Each manager's calendar is updated automatically with new or changed events.

The BlackBerry solution came at just the right time, only a few weeks before the Institute released its third King Report on Corporate Governance. The run up to the launch and the subsequent roadshow have kept the Institute's team extremely busy. "Although we were on the road even more than usual promoting the Report, operations didn't suffer, thanks to our BlackBerry smartphones," says Blundell.

Says Deon Liebenberg, Regional Director for Sub Sahara Africa at RIM: "By replacing existing phones with BlackBerry smartphones, companies can achieve massive time savings that will justify the small investment they make. And it's more cost effective to have BlackBerry mobile email than it is to drive into the office or to miss out on a major business opportunity because one can't respond to an email quickly enough."

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