Bye bye, corporate phone

BlackBerry, meet BYOD. Users are demanding their own smartphones, and support-weary IT is only too happy to hand over the reins.

By Beth Stackpole, Computerworld |  IT Management, BlackBerry, BYOD

The stipend ranges from $55 a month for a cellphone to between $105 and $110 a month for a smartphone. Users can choose their own plan and telecommunications provider, or they can participate in Arinc's corporate program, which enables them to take advantage of the firm's volume discounts.

Instead of reimbursement via expense reports, which Napolitano believes would create a significant administrative burden, employees receive a stipend as part of their paycheck. If they do opt for the BYOD route, employees have to agree to policies that specify that IT can wipe the phone, including personal data like photos and music, in the event that it's lost or stolen.

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For now, Napolitano has opted to keep the program optional as opposed to mandating a move to BYOD. "We found that when we made it voluntary, it keeps its attractiveness," he explains. "People are not feeling slighted, and there's little resistance because they don't feel like we're forcing them over."

About one quarter of Arinc users eligible for a phone have signed up for the firm's BYOD program, and Napolitano fully expects those numbers to grow. Most employees are choosing to make the transition when their contract is up, Napolitano says, so they don't incur fees related to switching or stopping service mid-stream, which they are responsible for even on company-issued phones and data plans.

The transition has freed up Napolitano's 100-person IT group, which supports 2,400 U.S. workers, from taking on a costly support burden. While IT does provide a modicum of support for non-corporate phones, mostly related to email setup, it does so without any adherence to the formal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that were in place for BlackBerry users.

"Our support costs would have shot through the ceiling if we had to have people on staff specializing in Apple and Android," Napolitano says. "A big portion of the decision was for cost avoidance related to having to support [multiple devices] while still enabling our customer base to get what they want."

BYOP: Buy your own phone

The Reinvestment Fund, another organization that has long supplied key employees with a corporate phone, is also now offering its users a choice, but with a slightly different approach.

Users who qualify for a phone based on job description (mostly salespeople, executives and other managers) can either stick with the corporate-standard BlackBerry and not pay anything out of pocket, or they can purchase their device of choice on their own.

Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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