BYOD – bring your own device – has become so mainstream that employees using their own phones in their work has become the norm at most companies.
The fears that managers once had that BYOD would lead to chaos have been replaced with the delight at seeing employees who are happy to use their own phones and are more productive as a result. As a bonus, most companies are seeing cost benefits with BYOD as well.
For these reasons, BYOD continues to grow, with increasing numbers of companies embracing the strategy and more employees within individual companies using their own devices.
To get the most out of BYOD – and to guard against anything remotely resembling chaos – a company needs a certain degree of control. But while too much control stifles employee flexibility and freedom, too little creates potential data security risks. A company needs a program with the right touch, granting employees autonomy but still managing the whole thing and making sure it serves business objectives.
Whether you are launching a BYOD effort, or just trying to get a handle on the BYOD situation that has evolved at your company, here are nine tips that will help you find that right degree of control.
What’s the goal?
Managing BYOD starts with understanding your objectives. Yes, BYOD will empower employees and help them do their jobs better, but how can that help the top and bottom lines of your business? Are you mainly interested in improving customer and client experiences? Reducing costs? Streamlining your operations by eliminating the juggling of both corporate-provided and personal phones? Establishing your priorities helps you hone the vision for your BYOD program and helps you define success and the metrics that prove success. Such as the number of activated users, the number of devices you can replace and retire, or the harder to quantify but vitally important user experience and satisfaction.
Get everyone involved
Successful BYOD programs are cross-functional, designed to meet the needs of the many different stakeholders in an organization. Almost all lines of business – marketing, sales, operations, HR, legal, and more – are affected. Involve them in discussions so that you can determine their employees’ needs and requirements and device-using styles. Gauge how employees in these different lines of business will react to the changes involved in a BYOD program; even if the company culture may seem open to the changes involved in a BYOD program, some lines of business may have their own subcultures that need to be addressed.
Assess all the use cases
Determine who the users are or will be, whether they are already using their own devices, and how the BYOD program might change how they work. Are they client-facing employees, for instance, who might be heavier users of the devices? Do they function within typical 9-to-5 workdays, or are they likely to be working before or after those hours or on weekends? Have they always had corporate-provided devices and now must use their own, and how do they feel about that? This assessment helps you understand your landscape and build your business case.
Phase it in
Especially with new BYOD programs, it is best to implement in phases. Choose one department as your starting point, and let the success of that rollout be a guide for you in moving to other departments and eventually the entire organization. The phased approach builds internal capabilities, helps mitigate risk, and proves the value of the program. When you create happy and more productive users, it yields positive word of mouth that helps build momentum. Employees see that and want to be part of it.
Applications and control
When people use their own device, they also want their own applications. That can pose challenges, especially if some apps aren’t as secure as they need to be to make sure that an intruder can’t use them to get into your network and steal data or disrupt operations. Some companies set up their own app stores and let employees choose from a pre-selected range of approved business apps. However you prefer to handle the issue of apps, it is critical to educate employees about potential security risks and to make sure you know what apps employees are using.
Support and training
When people use their own devices, there is less training required. But it is important to provide support to answer any questions and empowering them by making best practices information easily available. That aligns with the autonomy you’re already giving them to conduct business.
Make it seamless
The underlying premise behind BYOD is that it is meant to be simple. An employee uses a familiar device and they don’t have to alter their work style to use it. Similarly, you need a simple, seamless, and convenient program. That’s what employees want and increasingly expect, and in its absence they are tempted to circumvent any limitations they encounter. Avoid extra steps for your users that they may see as obstacles to getting their jobs done. Whether it is how apps are deployed or how support is made available, remember that your users – especially younger ones – have very high expectations when it comes to technology.
Compliance, privacy, and security
These are major ongoing priorities for any BYOD program. If you are in financial services or healthcare or any other regulated industry, compliance is essential. If calls must be recorded, for instance, you will need a solution that accommodates BYOD. You have to be able to demonstrate you are adequately protecting client or patient data in all interactions. As far as privacy, employees need to know and be reassured that their personal data on their devices is kept private. And when it comes to security, protecting your business and your key data assets is paramount. Not just in preventing data leakage, but also handling the process if an employee leaves your company. That departing employee may be walking out with important customer or other data, and you need a systematic process for securing that in such situations.
Smooth and easy
Helping to make BYOD smooth and easy for everyone concerned is Sprint MultiLine. This solution enables a distinct second mobile number – one that is strictly for business – to operate on any smartphone. It also offers controllable and secure communications to your BYOD strategy.
All business calls, texts, and voice mail happen on the business-owned number on the employee’s phone. Business and personal communications and contacts are kept completely separate. Yet the company has full control over the business number and is able to manage all user types and mobile requirements. This is particularly beneficial as companies are able to maintain that customer relationship – even when an employee transitions out of the organization.
That includes setting parameters such as times of day, days of the week, and whether call recording is required on that business number.
This dual-number operation ensures that the business number is never compromised if an employee leaves the company. Employee privacy is secured and respected. And it keeps a company compliant when it comes to regulations regarding confidential communications or recorded calls.
Fulfilling the promise of BYOD, putting a separate business number on an employee’s phone is both practical and professional. It ensures a better customer experience by allowing customers to communicate with the company more efficiently. And most importantly, it puts control of business communications where it belongs, with the company.