Android invades the enterprise

How three companies are coping -- even thriving -- amid the Android explosion.

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Batenburg doesn't expect Android devices to predominate, even in the BYOD group. Perhaps because Starz is in the entertainment industry, where Apple products have always ruled, iPhones are far more popular. "The novelty of the Androids wore off," she says. "We're seeing less interest in those."

But if more Androids do come, Batenburg is ready. The segmented approach allows full support for employees who most rely on their mobile devices, while freeing the company from having to support a multitude of devices.

Batenburg's advice to others confronting an Android invasion is to standardize. "Pick a vendor and a couple of devices and say, 'This is what we'll support,'" she says. "If they want anything else, they are responsible for their own device."

Ricoh Americas: All Devices Welcome

Ricoh Americas started allowing its 9,000 employees to bring their own mobile devices to work more than three years ago. At first, fearing the chaos that Android fragmentation might cause, the IT department imposed restrictions, allowing only iOS and one particular version of Android, says Tracey Rothenberger, executive vice president and COO.

Within nine months, those restrictions came off. "It was much easier than we thought it was going to be," says Rothenberger. "The reality is that [Android's multiple flavors] have not been that significant of a challenge for us."

Today, Ricoh maintains a corporate-liable program, primarily for back-office and administrative employees, says Rothenberger. The standard platform for that program has been Android, but "recently we've been getting great pricing on prior generations of iPhones," he says.

Everyone else in a BYOD program can choose any type of device they wish. "We don't dictate whether employees should buy Apple, Android, Windows Mobile or even BlackBerry," Rothenberger says. The breakdown of devices in the company today is 60% Android, 30% iOS and 10% other, he says.

In order to access corporate email, employees must agree to a "code of conduct" and download an app, part of Lotus Notes, that allows Ricoh Americas to enforce certain policies, such as password requirements and the ability to wipe the device.

IT manages the mobile devices through Notes, but is looking for a new MDM system. Rothenberger expects that BYOD will spawn an environment where employees build their own apps, and he wants an MDM system capable of handling that. "Employees at all levels are going to be able to start creating apps," he says. "Someone in finance may come up with a great way to automate a workflow," for example.

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