With mobile technology evolving every few months, keeping up with the devices' changing role in the workplace can be tough. Even though their effectiveness is being debated, bring your own device (BYOD) programs are popping up left and right, offering employees the comfort and ease of having their personal mobile devices in the office.
"Right now in the Xigo universe, we're seeing folks carrying somewhere between three to four devices, on average," said Randy DeLorenzo, chief mobility officer at Dimension Data company Xigo. "They're mobile devices that can be in the form of a smartphone, a wireless modem, an iPad [or] a second smartphone for international travel. And we're definitely seeing the entrance of BYOD on the second, third and fourth screens. ... Particularly in healthcare, security is a huge concern around HIPAA, but they are the most stringent of all our customers – they're very interested in security, digital finger printing, and those types of things."
DeLorenzo helps outline six keys to developing a BYOD program.
1. Have MEM plan in place before implementing BYOD. MEM, or mobile expense management, software can help organizations manage devices and service plans, track monthly expenses, budget for new devices, and see real-time updates of mobile expenses, said DeLorenzo. And, according to a white paper by MobileIron, when employees have personal visibility into their usage, they're more apt to be aware of expenses and become more responsible. "They use the device more sparingly when roaming, and they are less likely to lose it," the white paper read. "BYOD drives personal responsibility." The report added that the hidden economics of a BYOD program center not only on increased productivity, but also "managing the cost of complexity and realizing the value of more responsible employee usage."
2. Keep device choice in mind. Personal preference is the "primary catalyst" for BYOD, read the white paper, so it's important to both analyze employee preferences and take inventory of what devices they already have. "A BYOD program that doesn't support current and intended purchases will have limited appeal," said the white paper. In addition, it's essential to define a baseline of what security features a BYOD device should support, since the goal is to "include all employees' desired mobile platforms on the program, without creating security gaps or support headaches." Among other requirements, the white paper emphasized establishing clear communication to users regarding which devices are allowed or not, and why. "Going BYOD without this clarity results in users purchasing unsupported devices or becoming frustrated that the service levels they expected from IT are not available to them," it read.
3. Know that not all providers and plans will be the right fit for every organization. "Healthcare institutions should do the necessary research to understand all the various providers and plans," said DeLorenzo. "[They should] choose the one that will best support their organization's specific needs." Not to mention, he added, wireless companies are constantly changing their data and phone plans. "Plans should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure organizations are not paying for unused services and are fully maximizing their mobile spending." According to the white paper, some organizations opt to continue paying for full service, while others move to a fixed monthly stipend for the user. "[This is] many times based on seniority level and function within the organization," it read. "However, negotiating leverage with the wireless operator can be lost if the billing model doesn't provide any consolidation."
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