7 BYOD Lessons Learned at CITE 2013

At the end of day one of the CITE (Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise) show in San Francisco, I dined at The Thirsty Bear with one of my favorite industry experts.  To make a point, he took my cell phone and after four attempts was able to unlock it.  Could it be my password was way too simple or was this guy so in tune with personalities and their potential passwords preferences that he was able to read me like a book and figure it out?  This Mobility Engineer was in fact THAT in tuned with cell phone users (but yeah, I have to admit, my password was too simple). This leads me to lesson one.

Lesson 1: Make my password less predictable. Done. May I suggest for the sake of security that we all take a moment to assess our passwords?

Lesson 2: Flamenco dancers aren’t messing around and neither should you in the management of your company’s BYOD programs.

We continued our conversations about BYOD in the enterprise over some tapas at The Thirsty Bear, when a group of lovely and talented Flamenco dancers came to entertain us. Faces projecting nothing but passion and determination, these dancers knew how to entertain.  They’re serious, they’re focused, and if they were managing your BYOD, they would get the job done. BYOD does not manage itself and in the long run requires program management just like corporate liable programs, but in a different way. When you’re looking for a solution to manage BYOD, look for a company that is serious and focused about a BYOD solution.

Lesson 3 (a and b):
Brian Katz of Sanofi, a major pharmaceutical company, had a few nuggets of gold as he presented throughout the conference.

a.  Companies must tie business strategy to mobile strategy BEFORE taking the BYOD plunge.
b.  Apps should be about the needs of the user which he noted to remember: “F.U.N.” – Focus on User Need, above all.

Lesson 4:
Tom Soderstrom, from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said take the time to explain WHY you’re setting a new policy and practice in place.  It’s a simple gesture that helps staff to adopt new protocols.

Lesson 5:
Eric Cowperthwaite, of Providence Health & Services, said that new technology, after new technology results in new rule, after new rule.  Consider setting healthy parameters around your new technologies, but not to the point where they disable productivity.  Just as when you tell children, “Only use this”, your users will many times begin using something they’re not supposed to, to help them with their productivity.  Eric recommended considering less rules, more freedom for staff to use what they need to get the job done and provide support and healthy boundaries around that need.

Lesson 6:
Kevin Jones of NASA’s Marshall and Goddard Space Flight Centers, likened how we should treat our mobility programs to how NASCAR gets rid of anything they possibly can (inside their cars) to move as fast as physically possible.  Simplicity is the key. Kevin also mentioned that, “The key to failure is not allowing trust.” Give your employees what they need and then trust them to do the right thing.  If they don’t do the right thing, they shouldn’t be working for you.  Kevin made a great point when he said NASA had performed studies on various age groups and found that it doesn’t matter the age – adopting a new policy or device is more about if the device and service meets a need more than the actual age of an employee.

Lesson 7:
A common train of thought I observed at the show: “BYOD is cost neutral.”  So far, data has not pointed to BYOD reducing cost.  Going into a BYOD mobility initiative with the sole purpose of saving money is setting you up for letdown.  Instead, focus on how to better enable your employees with the right tools.

I want to thank all of the industry experts out there who made this show a complete success.  Looking forward to next year!

Avoiding the BYOD Rabbit Holes: AOTMP 2013 Recap


I just returned to MOBI HQ after another year at the AOTMP Conference in Orlando, FL. During the AOTMP 2013 Conference best practices in the mobile and wireline telecom industry were shared with Telecom Managers from some of the nation’s most notable companies.

Tim Colwell, SVP of Global Business Analytics at AOTMP, hit BYOD head on when he outlined some of the “rabbit holes” associated with migrating to this type of program. In summary, the following questions and thoughts should be considered when thinking of implementing a BYOD program.

11 Mobile BYOD Considerations from AOTMP 2013

1. Is migrating to BYOD truly going to be cheaper than what we are doing today?
2. Do I have consensus from every moving part within my organization to push toward BYOD?
3. Are the accounting, security, legal, and IT help desk departments on board?
4. Have I considered every possible scenario of who will be on the BYOD eligibility list?
5. Are International and domestic travel, corporate vs. field employees, support position staff, on call staff, customer vs. internal facing employees, etc. eligible for BYOD?
6. Have I considered all expenses that will be included?
7. Are stipend, device cost, security, and support on your radar?
Continue reading

Can Rocky Balboa Inspire Greatness in Your Mobility Team?

“Eye of the Tiger.” Rocky Balboa Statue

We know this as the song that pumps us up as we watch Rocky Balboa train to beat up his opponents. Just the mention of the song and it’s running through your head, inspiring uppercut punches and a sudden urge to run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I recently attended the MobileCON conference. Here I heard more enterprises going back and forth about to BYOD, MDM, or Managed Services or not. Over the past 4 years, I’ve seen the process of talking about the need for change in mobile solutions. Committees are established to come up with some ideas. Then committees of the committees are formed to discuss the problem but many times a decision is never made. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for committees, but often times, the group cannot come to a consensus or as is more often the case, there is fear of making a wrong decision (and understandably so). Sometimes it is decided that no decision is the safe choice.

Mobility is growing – RAPIDLY – resulting in the extreme need for a solution, before extreme circumstances occur like lawsuits or before another million dollars is wasted on unneeded devices and plans.

Searching for a solution and talking to vendors can occasionally lead to even more confusion and too many choices. Let’s break this down:

Continue reading

CCMI: Negotiate Enterprise Communication Deals Conference

I’ve been with MOBI for over three years and I’ve been excited to watch us quadruple in size, all while keeping our super fun and creative culture and striving to craft ideas and solutions for enterprise cell phones and tablets. I work with a relentlessly hard working team that remains utterly committed to our customers. Great job, team!

Continue reading

Overruled by Upper Management: A telecom administrator’s struggle for support

On behalf of telecom managers everywhere, I would like to send out a plea to support their wireless management efforts. Many times, these folks have to work while on vacation because they are the only member of the organization who knows how to make sure telecom requests are followed through. They tend to work longer hours than most, are extreme multi-taskers and are often empathetic to meeting telecom needs. Please keep them in mind when a user asks for the latest unapproved iPhone or for their tablet to gain access to the company network, even though it’s against company policy and you are tempted to override the policy. Give them a hand for the good work they do and the biggest help that can be sent their way is to support their efforts to keep the company in business by doing their part to keep cost low.

Continue reading

Two Things You Must Address for a Successful Tablet Deployment

Deploying any device into a company’s wireless environment requires careful thought and consideration. Two major components to address are security and device support.

The tablet trend is still evolving but it’s clear that tablets require more attention than your basic wireless devices in business. Recent stats from my company, MOBI wireless management, reveal that while less than 5% of managed devices are tablets, 20% of help-desk calls are tablet-related. Deploying tablets can and will require more time and management than your average device.

Tablet security & data control

Security issues are at the forefront of the tablet movement. Why? These devices are also used in personal ways–downloading and listening to music, storing pictures, web surfing, etc.
Continue reading

More than 12 Thoughts on BYOD Best Practices

Recently, I attened Enterprise Connect, Communications Transforming Business in Orlando, FL where I enjoyed meeting folks in the IT industry and seeing the latest in technology from Avaya, Cisco, Airwatch, the major wireless carriers and more.

BYOD (or Bring Your Own Device) was once again the biggest topic on everyone’s agenda, thus prompting me to once again touch on this ever growing trend.  The following information is courtesy of the event’s expert panel, excerpts from some of the conversations I had with individuals on the ground floor, and our experience helping customers evaluate a BYOD transition here at MOBI.

More than 12 thoughts on BYOD best practices:

  1. Limit device choice – for instance, perhaps only allow iPhones to be brought in as BYOD.  Choosing a more secured offering could ease some security concerns and reduced end user complaints about not getting to bring their own devices (sometimes one option is better than no option).
  2. One of the only ways to actually reduce cost if going to BYOD is to either not provide a stipend or to allow a stipend that is less than what a bulk negotiated carrier contract would provide.
  3. Policy should be decided upon and enforced in the specific scenario of an employee with a BYOD device who goes overseas using a domestic data plan, performs work for the company on that device and then racks up high usage and fees.  Does the company pay for that expensive use or does the individual?
  4. Companies should define protocols for what to do if the company offers a stipend for the device (hardware), end users use their devices for company use and they lose or break their device.  Does the company pay for a new device?  Provide a stipend for replacement?  Offer a cheaper device as a replacement if the original device was say, an iPhone?
  5. Zero support policy doesn’t work.  In other words, if a company wants to go BYOD, don’t expect IT to be off the hook for providing support.
  6. Before going BYOD, the decision maker should bring in all departments to help make the decision and finalize the details – finance, IT, HR, supply chain, security, etc.
  7. Obviously, one thing we hear a lot is that the decision should be made as to who owns the phone number.  A recommended policy is for end users to sign a policy stating if their IL phone is connected to company network and data that if that employee leaves the company, they turn their phone number over to the company.
  8. Choose who should have a device, then which applications.
  9. The most underemphasized practice is to establish policy, make it clear and follow through.  This must be done in order to ensure BYOD best practices.
  10. If a company uses an MDM security product, a policy should be created to state the company reserves the right to wipe the device of any and all content at any time (and yes, this can include baby pictures).
  11. A security risk to take into consideration when migrating to BYOD is any iCloud type of service where at this time (at least, until this technology is made more secure), even if a company wipes the device, the employee can still get the information from the cloud.
  12. Something to consider about not offering help desk to BYOD users: if no support is offered by IT, end users will often go to online forums for help.  A lot of times they’re getting wrong information about how to fix the device or to modify settings that they shouldn’t change.  In addition, there are some pretty intelligent people on these forums who offer advice on how to bypass MDM security applications, how to jailbreak, etc.
  13. A spokesperson from the Enterprise Mobility Forum says that a good practice for companies is to use the COPE method for BYOD – Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled program.  According to this article this method would look like the following: “The device (and the corporate data that resides on it) is fully managed and controlled, but also allows for employees to install the apps they like for their personal use.”
  14. An interesting factoid: In France, Germany, South Korea and Italy, if a company or individual wipes a device that they don’t own (such as a company wiping an IL device), they can go to jail because it’s illegal.

What BYOD questions do you have? Please leave them in the comments below and we’ll be happy to address them no matter the complexity.