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The Journey Continues: Why does Softchoice BYOD?

From the experts | Posted on June 22, 2012 by Madeleine Lee

From rumors of cost savings, to greater employee satisfaction, to more productivity – the reasons for initiating a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy span far and wide.

In the second addition to Softchoice’s BYOD Behind the Scenes Blog Series (read the first here), I wanted to explore exactly what triggered our decision to adopt a bring-your-own-device policy. Just as each organization is unique, each company designs its own BYOD policy based on its own individual reasons.

It’s all about the people

Just like VMware and millions of other organizations, the consumerization of IT was the single greatest push that put BYOD on its feet at Softchoice.

Senior management, including our own CEO Dave MacDonald, insisted that BYOD is the future and a successful tech company should use the latest technology. Some individuals actually refused the company-issued BlackBerry and paid for their own smartphones instead. It wasn’t long before other employees caught on, and a groundswell formed of supporters.

Overall employee satisfaction was one of our biggest considerations, including the satisfaction of our future workers. It became apparent that the younger generation, or “Gen Y”, is increasingly demanding to use their own devices at work. If we want the brightest, most tech-savvy workers, it is critical that we let them have the freedom to choose their own technology.

“Most people wanted this policy, and we figured most people would be happy with it. When it kicked off, people pretty much celebrated.” said Francis Li, our Director of eCommerce & Customer Technology.

Save money

It was originally thought a corporate rate would be the simplest and most cost efficient solution for our volume of users. However, after thorough analysis of the company and its usage trends, we found most of our employees were using their phones for personal reasons. This included roaming, calling long distance and browsing more than their positions demanded.

“When BlackBerry smartphones were first introduced in the market, they were only really functional for business use.” Li told me. “Today, smartphones are more user-friendly with apps and downloading capabilities … more people were using their work phones to download, which caused our cost of data to increase.”

On top of all this, corporate phones were frequently lost, stolen or broken. In 2010, our cost of replacing devices amounted to approximately $30,000.

Save time

We had assumed that controlling employees’ phone charges would reduce the processing workload. In reality, each individual phone bill varies considerably from employee to employee making it impossible to monitor each person for appropriate use.

BYOD would help create predictability when it came to expenses, and the labor originally spent on processing expenses was better used towards supporting the program. Because we provide our employees a monthly ‘phone allowance’, we now know exactly how much our phone expenses are each month!

Stay tuned for upcoming posts on a closer look at our policies and the never-ending device debate! Subscribe via email on the upper-right hand side of the page.

Ok let’s have at it. What do you think the most significant factors are for adopting BYO? Do the risks outweigh the benefits?

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