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Thales: Empowering its Employees with a Digital Workspace

Thales is a pioneer in digital innovation. As a group, Thales is driving digital transformation from within to improve efficiency, safety, convenience, security and economic performance. Nowhere more so than in the UK.

For end-user computer manager, Carl Plumpton, his vision was to implement the most agile IT system possible. He wanted to create a hyper-connected workforce with the right technology and seamless information flow to deliver best-in-class customer service. This is when he turned to VMware’s digital workspace solution, VMware Workspace ONE. This solution not only enabled him to realise his immediate vision, but later proved essential in enabling the UK team to quickly pivot to remote working when faced with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Many challenges, ONE solution

At the start of the journey Carl had to deal with many challenges. He was faced with a stock of company-owned devices on both Apple and Andriod systems, a pending license renewal from the incumbent provider and his team were struggling to handle ongoing performance and data visibility issues.

Every month we would have a service delivery meeting and every month, the same issues would come up. Our legacy MDM solution was always in the top five support-call lists so something had to be done.”  – Carl Plumpton, EUC Manager, Thales

With no time to lose, a business case for Workspace ONE was presented to the CIO which was was quickly signed off. In the initial deployment phase, Carl’s team had to migrate 2,600 users in just a couple of weeks. Historically this was something Thales would guide on heavily. However, in this instance, given the time scales, availability of staff, wider company pressures and the financial implications, that wasn’t going to work.

Reaching every employee with zero-touch

With time pressure so acute, Thales needed an innovative solution that encouraged migration. It provided every employee with a QR code to reduce friction around configurations with usernames and passwords. This meant self-enrollment was seamless and swift, whilst also being completely secure with ‘single sign-on’.

The results speak for themselves. Thales migrated 2600 people to Workspace ONE in 11 days, each on company-owned devices. While the implementation was a triumph, the real measure of success would come from those who it was designed to help – the employees. The legacy system had generated a high volume of support calls from frustrated employees. With Workspace ONE, instead of wasting both time and resource calling IT to report platform issues, employees are free to get on with their work. This has been underlined with employee feedback around the intuitiveness of the platform. Given its success, the solution has now been rolled out more widely.

“The user experience has definitely improved. It’s like going from black and white to colour TV. We went from something was quite complex to something that is slick and intuitive.” – Carl Plumpton, EUC Manager, Thales

Response to COVID-19: Enabling Working from Home

When Thales had to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, Workspace ONE was instrumental in quickly enabling employees to work from home. By using the Workspace ONE Boxer app, Thales enabled 40% of its UK staff to maintain access to email communications without the need for additional equipment provisioning. Critical HR staff were moved to home working immediately by provisioning access to their corporate virtual desktop from a thin client securely with Workspace ONE and two factor authentification.Thales also supported staff well-being by delivering the workplace mental health app, Unmind, to all smart phones via Workspace ONE.

Delivering a digital transformation directive

Thales employees can work at any time and in any place. And it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the company engages with Workspace ONE. Feature updates are being worked on to ensure every element of security is aligned, while there is an internal drive at Thales to instil more training to deliver maximum benefits to the HR, IT and wider employee teams.

“Workspace ONE is a vast solution and it’s something we’ve only just scratched the surface of. It works because it combines an optimal level of security with new ways of working including virtualized remote operations and data mobility.”– Carl Plumpton, EUC Manager, Thales

Thales is already looking at developing its infrastructure to account for a wider scope. In fact, how, when and where it engages with Workspace ONE is a key element of the strategy discussion to have a much lighter footprint when it comes to hardware. Carl’s vision is simple – to allow self-enrolled devices into Workspace ONE and then configure them with a Thales policy.

This project is about creating a flexible and sustainable working style that can deal with changing environments. Carl Plumpton and his team are on a mission to empower Thales employees to do their best work while helping them transform customer experiences and accelerate business process innovation.


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