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Which workers are the best fit for BYOD?

Tom Kaneshige | May 15, 2013
From the always-on salesperson to the clock-punching hourly worker, companies will need to weigh the pros and cons of including each worker type in a BYOD program.

The question will be whether or not MDM will be able to corral work requests for BYOD hourly employees in a realistic way.

The polar opposite of the hourly worker is the always-on salesperson. These mobile workhorses operate relatively independently and at all hours of the day. Their personal and business lives often blend on golf courses, at restaurants and over weekends. BYOD feeds into their modus operandi.

For instance, a salesperson depends on a smartphone that's chock full of productivity apps, from Salesforce Chatter to Evernote. If they find an app that they believe gives them a competitive advantage, it's a good bet they'll download it without checking with IT first. They need their phone with them at all times, and thus don't want to be burdened by carrying around two phones.

Perfect fit for BYOD?
Not really.

"With the majority of our customers, their salespeople are still on the corporate [smartphone] program," Churchill says. "It's largely due to the fear of losing prospect contact information and customer contacts."

Another hurdle is the actual phone number a salesperson uses to call customers. It's a critical corporate asset. If customers get comfortable with a salesperson's personal number on his BYOD phone, then the asset goes with him when he leaves the company.

While VoIP, call forwarding and other services can enable a single phone to receive calls from multiple numbers, these are extra steps that many salespeople would prefer to avoid. Truth is, BYOD makes it easier for salespeople to accomplish what they've always wanted in the first place: take information with them when they leave.

Nanci Churchill, Mobi Wireless Management

"Salespeople are notorious for trying to take their Rolodex with them, and BYOD exacerbates the problem," Ben Tomhave, principal consultant at governance, risk and compliance vendor Lockpath, told me last summer. CIOs at Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise Conference and Expo, or CITE, last year also raised concerns about number ownership.

It's unclear how much longer Mobi's customers can stave off BYOD from entering the sales ranks. Most salespeople want to be at the front of any trend or fashion. They want to choose their own devices, which, in turn, may be used in presentations to customers.

"Salespeople are prime targets for device envy," Churchill says. "I do see the pendulum swinging towards BYOD for salespeople."

While every Mobi customer is doing some type of BYOD, it's important to note that most companies and employees are still merely dipping their toes despite the BYOD hype. This, of course, is typical of tech coverage; the media tends to report on technology's farthest edges.

Whether it's salespeople or hourly workers, most companies are still taking a wait-and-see-approach with BYOD.

"A lot of our customers are still piloting BYOD and different MDMs and not taking sweeping action across their program at this time," Churchill says.


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