Just under 15,000. That’s the number of miles United Airlines tells me I have traveled in the last 2 1/2 weeks. Not the best excuse, but really the only one I have for not having shared any missives with you on a regular basis during this time period. Miracle of miracles, I am not traveling for four entire calendar days…so maybe I can get back on a roll here.
I was talking to a broad range of people over the last couple of weeks, and as the main theme of my missives have been recently, they continue to struggle with how to handle their employees wanting to bring their personal mobile devices into the workplace. In fact, I was on a webinar yesterday and the number one concern that came up around mobile devices was security. Security is obviously even more difficult to handle when you are not in control of the access points…meaning when you don’t control/own the devices. This is of course why you still see certain companies require their employees to use company provided BlackBerry devices. Problem is, more and more people want their iPhones/iPads and Android devices…and heck, you may even find the lone wolf out there who might want a Windows Phone or continue to have a BlackBerry device. This is why so many IT managers have the BYOD blues.
So let’s take a quick step back if you don’t mind to think about why companies even allowed individually liable devices in the first place. It was all about cost….reducing OpEx during the (continuously) challenging times we are facing. The problem is, most companies only went half way. What I mean to say is that they decided to allow their employees to purchase their own hardware, but they continued to pay for most if not all of the service plans. That makes little sense to me, particularly when you think about the fact that by having ceded ownership rights to the devices, they have created a new problem in terms of trying to convince their employees that they should have the right to “snoop in” on their devices via EMM solutions. Ah yes, the proverbial tug of war between IT and the employees.
So let me first throw out this idea. I think that if companies are going to allow employees to bring in their own devices to work, why on earth would they even pay for any of the monthly contract? If it’s to lower OpEx, then I say go all the way and eliminate it completely from the equation. There you go….you’ve reduced your monthly mobility service costs to nill. Your CFO will be happy. The problem is you still need to manage those devices and the corporate data. If you pull a Seinfeld and say “No reimbursement for you!” you’ll get even more push back than you are getting now. So what if I suggested you take the opposite approach?
Yup….I said it. I say go fully corporate owned…with one slight caveat. If your organization owns all the devices and pays for the entire service plan, I suspect it will be a lot easier to make your employees understand that the devices will need to be managed. Additionally, you’ll have far better leverage when negotiating with the carriers around rate plans and device renewals/replacements. But here’s the one caveat. Let your employees pick whatever device they want. Let them pick their favorite Android, iOS or even BlackBerry or Windows Phone device….let them have anything they want. In exchange, you get to leverage your enterprise mobility management solution on your property and they can still do whatever they want (assuming it’s in line with your mobility policy) and then we can all come away happy and you don’t have the headaches of dealing anymore with the BYOD dilemma.
That was easy, wasn’t it?