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

There's little to no expectation that we should buy users a phone -- everyone already has that. Barry Porozni, The Reinvestment Fund

Once they pay the one-time fee for the phone, employees can be added to the company's corporate service plan with Verizon, at the company's expense. If they want to use another carrier, such as AT&T, then they are completely on their own.

"There's little to no expectation that we should buy users a phone -- everyone already has that," says Barry Porozni, CIO for the 80-person financial services firm. "The expectation is covering the service fee because when you think about it, the investment in the phone is small compared to the monthly fee. Still, we don't want to process additional connectivity fees and reimbursements simply because a user wants a different carrier."

Because he considers most phones mainstream devices, Porozni is still happy to have his four-person IT team field support calls for problems with email, calendars and contacts, but for anything beyond that, he says, folks are left to fend for themselves.

Except of course, for the C-level suite. For them, Porozni says his team will make an exception. "If you're a C-level exec and you can't figure out how to send a picture to someone, we'll make an effort to show you how to do that," he concedes. "But generally these are things they know how to do before they get to us."

Since launching the BYOD program, The Reinvestment Group's BlackBerry numbers have dwindled to around 10 or less, and there are data-plan requests for 50 non-BlackBerry devices, including both smartphones and tablets.

Corporate perks: Always popular

Other long-time BlackBerry shops like MOM Brands (a cereal company formally known as Malt-O-Meal) are eyeing BYOD more cautiously, intrigued by the idea of offering choice and potentially sexier technology to its user base, but not willing to give up the robust security and other enterprise features that are synonymous with the BlackBerry brand.

What MOM Brands' 500 BlackBerry users also don't want to give up is the perk of having the company foot the bill for the phone and service plan, despite the fact they may not get hands on their ideal phone, according to Tim Wood, a technical support analyst.

"Users [still] want a corporate-sanctioned phone, they just want the corporate-sanctioned phone of their choice," says Wood. "They're used to not paying for the monthly plan and device and there are no restrictions with the BlackBerry. We don't push [enterprise] software out to the phones -- they are used only for email, phone calls and texting -- so they can use them for personal use."

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