Utelize 3-minute briefings: 10 questions to ask before you embark on a BYoD programme

Background

At the start, BYoD was simply based around allowing users to access work email (and data) from newly emerging tablets and smartphones. For the business, there were some productivity benefits from leveraging this new consumer technology, as it was yet to be adopted within wider corporate IT (e.g tablets). For the user, it offered a new level of convenience and working flexibility. As the employee already owned their own tablet or smartphone, and had made that purchasing decision voluntarily, the question was simply whether the organisation was prepared to authorise the user to access those business resources (e.g. e-mail, Office 365) on those personal devices – and if so, how, and at what cost could data be secured? Typically, as the conversation was really only initially about authorising second devices, for example, iPad tablets and iPhones, there was no discussion of payment to the user.

Is ‘bring your own device’ starting to mean ‘pay for your own device’?

As smartphones have now become the default corporate and consumer device, the original, simple case for BYoD on second devices has shifted towards BYoD for primary devices. In short, could corporate devices be replaced by employees bringing their own device; or, indeed, should corporates mandate employees to bring their own? Replacing corporate devices with BYoD has therefore changed the discussion, which is now really one of device and airtime (SIM) financing vs. IT support costs, and security costs and risk. Finance heads like the idea of shifting the entire mobile budget to the employee, and IT support teams like the certainty and control of standardised, corporate-owned and locked down devices. Most employees we speak to want choice and flexibility.

So, it’s critical to be able to understand why your organisation is looking to implement BYoD before deciding on which model/s to adopt. Is it for business financial reasons, or is it to improve employee work satisfaction and flexibility? A lot of organisations struggle to create a clear and workable BYoD programme, because they are not being honest with themselves about why they are implementing BYoD. Once you have a clear driver for “why?”, it becomes easier to move forward.

In the Utelize 3-minute briefing on BYoD models we summarised the most common models, and below we provide an overview of some of the key questions and challenges to consider before you embark on your BYoD programme. In other Resource Centre articles, including ‘Planning BYoD Beyond Device Security‘, we look in depth at the complex balance of device security, financing, support, and airtime costs with BYoD.

Some key questions to ask before you embark on a BYoD programme in your own organisation:

  • Who is driving BYoD – finance, IT or employee requests?
  • What benefits is the organisation expecting to deliver as a result of its BYoD programme?
  • Who will pay for the device? Will the organisation contribute?
  • Is the BYoD programme optional or mandatory?
  • Whose SIM will sit in the device? Will employee devices work with corporate SIMs?
  • What level of control and security will IT require over the device and applications? Will it be flexible enough to encourage BYoD adoption?
  • Will the organisation mandate which devices users can purchase?
  • Who will be responsible for the device maintenance, repairs and end-of-life recycling/disposal?
  • Will employees pay for personal use on corporate devices, or be entitled to reclaim corporate use on personal devices?
  • What are the taxation implications for personal expense claims for business use?

Think: common sense first!

The most important aspect of planning for BYoD is to apply common sense, based on your knowledge of your own organisation. There are many different BYoD models that vendors claim to be the ‘optimum model’, but in reality you’ll probably find that the right model for your organisation combines elements of each of the core models. What’s more, you’ll probably want to review a small number of options, and possibly adapt them to fit the different types of users and employee roles in the business – a delivery drive, for example, will have very different business needs from a global sales executive.

Planning for BYoD requires organisations to look at the wider picture of how mobile telecoms & IT services are managed internally. To be successful, we recommend that businesses develop a joined-up strategy that brings together the Finance, IT, Procurement and HR departments working with a group of employees to create a model that will work for all. Without this approach, BYoD can easily create new security risks, employee dissatisfaction, and excess costs.

If you have any questions about BYoD, or if you have a topic that you’d like covered in our 3-minute briefings, email us at hello@utelize.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

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