How Virgin Trains East Coast gained control of their staff mobile apps

Virgin Trains East Coast faced a common problem; mobile app bloat. Due to the size of the company, departments were buying and creating bespoke apps to solve their own specific challenges with the new technology.

Virgin Trains East Coast provide their staff with a suite of apps to help them with their day to day tasks and to ensure that the service runs smoothly and efficiently.

These apps are a combination of commercial products and bespoke apps created by third party developers.

With a large estate of devices and apps to manage and with more apps to be developed, a clear strategy was required to ensure the continued success of the apps and the future direction of the mobile platform.


A Discovery was conducted by Razor to validate the known challenges but also to uncover the not so obvious issues.

Contextual enquiries were conducted observing staff on and off the trains using all of the apps designed to assist them in their day to day activities. Personas were generated to be used as a reference as we developed the strategy to ensure all parties were catered for in the long term.

With a large estate of devices and apps to manage and with more apps to be developed, a clear strategy was required to ensure the continued success of the apps and the future direction of the mobile platform.

A photo of a Discovery in progress at Razor

Deep technical and security reviews were conducted on a combination of third party and bespoke mobile apps and their supporting API’s and admin interfaces.

Having a broad understanding of the current technical implementations, constraints, security and how people were using or not using the apps enabled us to create a strategy that was suitably ambitious for a brand like Virgin but also realistic to be able to start making positive changes straight away.


The end result of the strategy is a clear direction and control with a clear path to bringing the existing apps into line ensuring they continue to provide value.

Risks around security, fragmentation and adoption have been reduced based on the research conducted.

With the additional delivery of a tactical plan, Virgin Trains East Coast have been able to make positive moves already to achieve the long term vision.


Based on the work Razor have done with Virgin Trains East Coast, additional areas of research have been identified for Razor to investigate to identify efficiencies for both the long and short term.

Kristal Ireland

“It has been brilliant working with Razor on this project. They understood my brief and were able to effectively deal with the sensitive and people centric approach that the project demanded.’

Kristal Ireland <> Head Of E-Commerce & Retail <> Virgin Trains East Coast
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