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BYOD Behind the Scenes: How Softchoice implemented a bring-your-own-device policy

From the experts | Posted on July 27, 2012 by Madeleine Lee

Just Google BYOD (as of July 16, that 6,340,000 results and counting) and BAM! it’s clear the bring-your-own-device revolution is far more than just a trend. If you’re CIO hasn’t started quivering yet – whether it be from excitement or fear – take a look at some more staggering numbers:

  • 95% of organizations allow employee-owned devices in some way in the workplace
  • 76% of IT leaders consider consumerization to be “somewhat” or “extremely” positive for their companies
  • 66% of employee want IT to let them use any device they choose, while 55% of generation Y employees see it as a ‘right’ versus a ‘privilege’
  • But, less than 10% of organizations are ‘fully aware’ of the devices accessing their network

The facts are clear: BYOD is here to stay, but organizations still aren’t clear about how to manage it. They need a successful workplace mobile use policy. But where to start?

In the spring of 2011, we launched our own mobile computing BYOD policy at Softchoice. So far it’s going great! How great? Subscribe and stay-tuned, my friend.

How’d we pull it off? How did we build a program that both allows end user flexibility and cost savings? In the third chapter of my Softchoice BYOD Journey: Behind the Scenes, I take a deeper look into how our policies were developed and rolled out. Don’t be afraid to check out the communications we used and steal some of our ideas!

Goals and Considerations

As discussed in my most recent post, Why does Softchoice BYOD, I outlined our specific reasons for turning to a BYOD policy. Making our people happy, as well as saving money and removing the billing burden from IT topped the list.

Piece ‘o Cake?

Not so fast. Meticulous research was needed to supplement the new policy.

We surveyed all director-levels and above to rank each role’s requirement for mobility use as “high, medium, low, or not required”.  Coupled with analysis of each employee’s billing history, determined allowance amounts required for each position.

“We wanted a one-time adjustment,” said Peter Roberts, Softchoice Telecommunications Manager and BYOD champion. “We didn’t want to have to go back in and fine-tune.” From approval to rolling out, this whole process took about six months.

Two-month showdown

Similar to the VMware’s ultimatum approach, our employees were given a two-month deadline to port with their provider of choice. The responsibility to transfer their corporate account to a personal one was left to the employee. Easy, step-by-step communications were created accordingly. Special corporate discounts were extended to those wishing to stay with one of our original three service providers, however, no hardware allowances were provided if someone wanted to upgrade.

The allowance amounts were compiled in a list and submitted to HR. Depending on role requirements, qualified employees normally receive a monthly allowance of $50 to $150. On the 15th of each month, these allowances are added to the automatic payroll depots.

By June 1st, any users still on the corporate cell plan were cutoff. It took us about 2 -3 months to get everyone connected.


“We had noticed a funny correlation between the number of corporate devices that were ‘lost’ when a new handset was released,” said Peter. “Now we’re on a personal liability model, meaning if employees lose, break, or simply want an upgrade, it’s out of their own pockets. People are more careful now.”

Want more tips and considerations when making your own BYOD policy? Check out my next adventure in BYOD next week!

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