Technology, Cloud

How to Make BYOD Truly Work

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Not a single analyst firm missed the opportunity to list Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or the Consumerization of IT as one of their top predictions of 2012.  That said, most of the focus has been on how wonderful BYOD policies are, as hardware costs get shifted to employees and organizations need only provide a way to access data and applications. 

Early adopters of BYOD, however, tell a slightly different story: one of unexpected costs and the need to maintain a level of IT involvement. 

BYOD Brings Many Challenges

Many employees’ mobile devices are their preferred method of communication, for both work and home.  With BYOD, employees think they can just bring their mobile device or tablet to work and have IT support it—but what they don’t realize is that this often means more than making sure an iPhone can use company email.  IT departments need to protect company data, enable the workforce and manage mobile expenses all at the same time.

Here’s a checklist of policies to have in place/things to remember when rolling-out BYOD:

  • Security Comes First: Strong security protocols need to be in place alongside device usage policies to protect critical company information.   It’s safe to say that employees will need to accept some level of company-sponsored security software on their device.
  • Be Ready to Juggle:  Companies that have rolled BYOD out already have learned that with each new device you add, you also add new data/service plans to the mix and are forced to manage multiple contracts and invoices. 
  • Prepare to Change Your Voice and Data Plans: Research has shown that the majority of employees come nowhere near using their full data plan allotment.  Organizations 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. 
  • Your New Skill—MEM:  IT departments have to be much more involved in mobile expense management, or MEM, than ever before.  Steps must be taken to prevent unauthorized charges, hidden expenses and cramming fees.
  • Know the Difference Between TEM and MEM:  In traditional landlines, the majority of savings come from managing inventory, correcting bills and signing up for long-term contracts to save money over several years.  That was telecom expense management (TEM).  In the mobile space, long-term contracts aren’t as important as managing usage, plans and policies.  In fact, the key to success is an active and constant optimization of devices and services to ensure that employees are on the right plans and are not being taken advantage of with charges. 
  • Take Full Advantage of Wi-Fi:  With a greater use of Wi-Fi, most employees could operate perfectly well within 50% of their current data cap.  A 2GB plan that costs, say $40 a month, could become a 1GB plan, costing $20 a month. 
  • Create an Outside the Office Policy:  One of the newest wrinkles in BYOD is needing to account for data plan equality, i.e., making sure that there is consistency in how much data or minutes employees can use.  Battles over why one employee has more texting minutes than another should never happen.

  • Weed Out Abusers: In every office there is an employee that is abusing the system and downloading movies over his phone while working on his desktop.  Without a regular review of data usage, these issues would never be found and costs would remain artificially high.


In order to be successful, CIOs and IT managers have to balance all of the different expenditures involved in BYOD, while at the same time securing company data and making sure to not hurt morale or productivity by preventing personal devices from being used.

As with any new trend, it’s best to learn from the past, cut through the hype and find ways to create a hybrid policy that makes sense within your organization.

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Ali L 0 Points | Mon, 06/11/2012 - 22:58

Nice information, Well, talking about the raising BYOD trend. We are now seeing more and more employees of enterprises willing to bring Macbooks to the office. But Windows with its amazing success is still pretty much predominant in 99% of all corporations around the world. This has started posing serious challenges for the management; How to manage these Macs, How to keep the business data safe and secure, etc.

Luckily, the cloud technology is there to address these challenges. With <a href="">Hosted Virtual Desktops</a> these organizations can integrate Macs in a Windows-centric world, their employees can run licensed Microsoft Windows, Office 2010 on their Mac, and these organizations can let their employees bring in their Mac, which they want to use, but at the same time provide security and protection of the corporate assets, intellectual property, and their reputation.


Ali L.

Pam Kaur 0 Points | Tue, 03/20/2012 - 15:08

hi David

With regards to the BYOD, nearly every route you take to manage these be it TEM, MDM, support, App compatibility, cost management will cost the business money. 

Within the EMEA sector of the Globe, we have considerations such as  Roaming, mobile policies, definitely security issues.

Mobile Contracts - Currently, we focus on business tariffs contracts which are advantageous for the business after heavy negotiations, but by introducing BYOD, there will be no focus on a specific package instead business will be asking for contracts to provide tariffs that accommadate the top end market phones. 

BYOD -  brings a 'he has a better phone than I do ' situation, where employees start comparing their devices and in other words a status thing. A similiar example is School uniforms.......the reasons behind School uniforms was to remove the inequalities of lifestyles.



John Dodge 1535 Points | Tue, 03/20/2012 - 19:53

Pam, Welcome to the Enterprise CIO Forum....You've painted a good poicture of BYOD's downsides. So what do you do? It can't be ignored. Do you lay down the law and say no BYOD? 

John Dodge 1535 Points | Wed, 02/29/2012 - 18:03

David, Welcome to the ECF. What is best way to manage the myriad data plans? Also, might it be easier to reimburse employees and let them mannage their smart phone service? What the various approaches - up and downsides? 

David Snow 6 Points | Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:27

Thanks John, happy to be here.  In managing any combination of data plans for your organization, the most important thing to remember is that you have to actively manage them.  The carriers are not going to check whether what they’re charging is accurate or cost optimized based on usage, so that responsibility falls on you.  The two most prevalent approaches for employee owned devices are full monthly expense reimbursement or a monthly stipend (some ideas on that here).

Pearl Zhu 90 Points | Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:41

Hi, David, very comprehensive blog about how to enforce BYOD policy, DLP-data loss management such as security, privacy issues, data management--mobile data may become significant source of Big Data, and MDM -Mobile Device Management such as MEM & MTM, and other tech supporting., etc, all of them need be well governed and integrated, and the goal of BYOD is to increase employees' productivity and improve staff satisfaction, beyond cost optimization. thanks. 

David Snow 6 Points | Tue, 03/06/2012 - 07:28

Hi Pearl, thanks for the response.  Absolutely agree; integration is key.  BYOD has benefits for companies and employees alike, from cost savings to improved staff satisfaction and productivity, but in addition to security there has to be some level of usage/expense management in place—not so much to control or restrict employees, but to ensure the company’s data plans and costs aren’t thrown completely off by one or two excessive users.