How Smart Companies Manage BYOD
When done right, BYOD can trim costs, reduce tech support, enhance collaboration and connectedness, and create real-time customer interactions.
Intel approached the challenge from a perspective of finding ways to make the initiative happen rather than looking for ways to defeat it. Within six months—with input from numerous departments and business units—it had hammered out a strategy. The company spent another nine months addressing legal and human resources issues. "There were issues that entered a legal gray zone,” explains Buchholz. “We wanted the program to be an enabler of productivity, but at the same time we wanted to make sure we built in the necessary safeguards and protections."
This meant addressing an array of complex issues and creating an end-user service-level agreement that made it clear users were voluntarily using BYOD rather than Intel demanding it (the company continues to supply equipment to some employees). "We had to determine what constitutes proper and fair usage with company tools," Buchholz says. Among other things, Intel was forced to examine how to manage hourly employees who might check their e-mail at home, identify when an employee is representing the company and when a device wipe is warranted, as well as the employee's responsibility when a wipe occurs.
Yet the challenges didn't stop there. "Because Intel is a multinational company, there are implications surrounding intellectual property or a particular country’s privacy protections when a device potentially comes into contact with other devices," Buchholz says. Some of the issues revolve around where data is stored and whether it is encrypted. In addition, the company had to break practices and procedures down by the type of device—smartphone, tablet or laptop—and create different rules, policies, access limits and controls for each. "It really gets down to the usage model and the device—and the specific requirements for that individual," he explains.
Today, Intel's BYOD program supports about 30,000 employees and offers 40 proprietary apps. These apps range from travel tools that can help schedule a shuttle or flight to conference room finders. The company uses a variety of software and security tools in place—including an internal app store, mobile device management (MDM) software and mobile app management (MAM) software—and has multiple levels of controls in place. In addition, it maintains a list of approved devices and ensures that they meet certain requirements. Other devices are blocked from the network.
"The goal isn't to save money through BYOD," Buchholz says. "The idea is to make Intel a great place to work. Employees are happier because they can pop out their phone—the device of their choice—and use their own apps along with specialized Intel apps." But the program also benefits Intel. On average, workers report saving 57 minutes a day due to BYOD. This totals 5 million hours annually, according to Intel surveys. "It enables the usage models they are familiar with on a day-to-day basis. This initiative is leading to new services and approaches, including how we collaborate inside the company, how we use social media and how we access data," Buchholz says.
A New Model Emerges
BYOD is more than the sum of smartphones and tablets within an enterprise. Organizations that adopt BYOD on a widespread basis typically find that a consumer IT model sweeps through the organization and changes the fundamental way people work and interact. Like Intel, they discover far more efficient ways to manage business processes and workflows. BYOD can also simplify—if not eliminate—the task of continually procuring and upgrading gear—all while making it easier for workers to use leading-edge tools and applications in their daily lives.