How to manage BYOD challenges by investing in software

BYOD and BYOT challenges
Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of Sales at MOBI, says the allure of BYOD is that the savings seem so direct.

Rather than the corporation buying the mobile device, the employee uses their personal mobile device.  According to Gartner, by 2017 half of employers will require employees to supply their own mobile devices for work. Along with saving on the cost of device acquisition, users should require less support because they are using a familiar device. IT should be less occupied with BYOD. No device acquisition cost and employees are using a familiar device — all good.

As BYOD continues in popularity with companies and employees, three hidden costs of BYOD are becoming apparent.

BYOD drives the need to deploy advanced Mobile Device Management (MDM) software. The time and cost of deploying MDM is significant.  An MDM deployment is challenging because IT has to land the software on a wide variety of devices, none of which IT controls.

BYOD does not eliminate management costs. Gartner reported that it will cost enterprises $300 to internally manage each Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) line per employee. Keep in mind that an employee might have multiple BYO devices.

BYOD focuses on the device itself, but what about the associated mobile service? Most companies do not engage in itemized reimbursement for business use of mobile service. Instead, employees are reimbursed a fixed amount. But these employee reimbursements have to be part of a program that has to be developed and maintained. In addition, this reimbursement is an employee benefit with tax implications.

By no means is BYOD a mobility ruse. When managed correctly, BYOD can eliminate device purchase costs and give employees the freedom of choice when it comes to plans and devices. BYOD can eliminate training time to familiarize an employee with a device that he or she is not accustomed to using.  BYOD should not be abandoned necessarily, but instead, companies should look at ways to mitigate BYOD’s drawbacks.

Companies are leveraging Mobility Management Software (MMS) to address the shortcomings of BYOD.  Here is how MMS is addressing the three aforementioned weaknesses of BYOD:

MMS links the individual with the device and service and places the ongoing management of MDM in the context of overall mobility management.  This reduces the cost of ongoing MDM management.  MMS contains business rules that can automatically trigger activities through the MDM software.

MMS can manage BYOD deployments by automating a policy acceptance process. The details around the enrolled device and associated operating system are captured in a management tool. This can easily be referenced if IT needs to undertake a project related to BYOD.

MMS can make BYOD reimbursement operate far more efficiently. Through integration with the carriers, MMS can provide a stipends payment on the carrier bill going to the employee rather than through the payroll system. MMS can support multiple types of BYOD reimbursement programs.

BYOD can bring an interesting opportunity for companies, but this can be challenging to realize.  The service provided to the device is in the name of the individual. Carriers are frequently offering all kinds of perks and incentives associated with continuing or expanding their service. How can a company possibly stay on top of all these shifting offers across hundreds or thousands of users? MMS can help.  Mobility management software that is tied into the carriers can aggregate the latest offers and present these options to a company so that a business decision can be made.

Some companies are retreating from BYOD, but not quite back to the traditional corporate liable model.  COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) is emerging as a new business model.  The device is provided by the corporation so IT has more control over the operation and security of the device. A corporate owned device gives IT more degrees of freedom in making changes, especially as it relates to the secure operation of the device.

Personally enabled can mean different things in different companies, but the idea is the individual has the freedom to choose applications and service.  COPE is often deployed such that stipends still need be provided. In the same way that MMS underpins BYOD, it can also serve COPE.  In some companies, traditional corporate liable, BYOD, and COPE co-exist.  This drives an even greater need for MMS because MMS provides a consistent software platform to efficiently operate a wide variety of mobility programs.

Chris Koeneman is the senior vice president of Sales at MOBI, where he is responsible for go-to-market success and all sales efforts.