From B to C: How Some Companies are Evolving their Mobile Strategies

Spend Matters welcomes a guest post from Dave Snow, CMO at Xigo.

Mobility in the enterprise is no longer an option, it is a must have. There has been substantial growth in the number of devices and services used by employees. In fact, according to recent findings by Cisco Systems, by 2015 there will be 15 billion network connected devices on the planet.

Mobility increases productivity at all levels, allowing employees to work anytime, anywhere. We're all expected to remain connected via mobile devices 24/7 -- a phenomenon that has led many organizations to adopt a BYOD (bring your own device) program. Employees want one device that can be used for both business and personal purposes. Any why shouldn't they? Why carry two devices when all desired functions can be performed on one?

Some companies, however, have realized that they need to tweak BYOD ever so slightly. They see certain employees having trouble attempting to manage device, carrier and infrastructure issues without operational support.

We have heard from other CIOs who say it is very difficult to manage what employees are using their devices for and when, driving increased bills as personal items are downloaded or entertainment content consumed that ultimately the company is paying for. In rare cases, companies have seen a backlash by employees who didn't understand that BYOD meant they had to purchase an expensive smartphone in order to work remotely.

The slight variation we're starting to see more of is best called "Choose Your Own Device," or CYOD. CYOD incorporates the best features from BYOD, yet at the same time addresses some of the issues starting to surface. While much of the infrastructure is the same, CYOD offers end users broad choices for devices, services and applications in a defined portfolio, while providing a robust, scalable mobile infrastructure and predictable end user support scenario at a lower costs and overhead than BYOD.By offering employees choice in their smartphones, you are still empowering them to be a part of the process, but are avoiding issues related to privacy, security and user-support.

Stories have come to light of executives and workers who have returned from vacations or even business trips with unheard of data roaming charges. With the CYOD model, IT managers can pre-set devices to make sure that proper cost-savings measurements are in place and that there is no bill shock at the end of the month. BYOD works for many organizations, but this is a good reminder that no one knows your workplace culture and style better than you. If you feel a policy is not the right fit, there are always ways to adjust or tweak for your own company's circumstances.

To be successful with CYOD, or any mobile roll-out for that matter, you need to manage use and expenses across the company. We recommend following some key rules:

  1. Set Usage Rules: The beauty of CYOD is that you don't need to rely on employees to be honest about how and when they're using their devices. The company pre-sets any devices to be in line with usage and security policies. Usage should also be reviewed each month to weed out any abusers.
  2. Match Plans to Actual Need: Businesses have traditionally been too generous with mobile voice and data, as 31% of monthly voice plans go unused and only 13% of wireless data cap plans are used. With faster devices and networks coming online and changing the above numbers, the only way to be certain your employees have the plans they need is to constantly review plans, employee needs and bills.
  3. Match Bills to Contracts: Wireless carriers are notorious for a lack of quality control in billing. It's up to the user, not the vendor, to ensure you are billed correctly. With different devices and perhaps different carriers in your CYOD scenario, it's imperative that you're not being overbilled or crammed with unauthorized charges in any way.
  4. Use New Devices as a Reason to Re-Negotiate: New devices are offered and plans change all the time. You want to offer your employees relatively new devices, so keep contracts short-term with carriers and use new users and/or new devices as a reason to re-negotiate and get the latest rates.
  5. Stop Paying for Unused Devices: 10% of all billed mobile devices are actually ghost devices hiding in a drawer or that were destroyed by an errant glass of water and lost forever. Identify these with a regular review of your bills and stop paying for them.

- Dave Snow, CMO, Xigo

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