Bye bye, corporate phone

BlackBerry, meet BYOD. Users are demanding their own smartphones, and support-weary IT is only too happy to hand over the reins.

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With BYOD adoption in full swing, are you ready to get out of the business of supporting the corporate-issued phone? Just because the timing may be right, it doesn't mean the process is simple or without significant change-management challenges, IT managers warn.

Consider the following checklist of basic steps to ensure the transition goes smoothly:

Identify eligible users. While everyone has a phone for personal reasons, not everyone needs a phone to get his or her job done. Evaluate your user base, with input from managers, and determine who is eligible for any reimbursement or stipend program your firm might offer.

Formalize a reimbursement program. Working with management from lines of business and, potentially, with HR, determine a reasonable stipend plan and reimbursement amount for users based on their job function and their phone and data plan usage. As part of this exercise, determine whether the employee or the company help desk will be responsible for supporting the device as well as who pays what for service plans and hardware.

Establish payment processes. Consider the tradeoffs between processing the stipends as part of the regular pay period or requiring users to fill out weekly or monthly expense reports.

Create formal usage policies and processes. Just because IT is getting out of the business of supporting phones doesn't mean you can abdicate responsibility for protecting corporate data. To enable BYOD, you have to determine which applications you will support on employee-owned devices, and you need to establish policies allowing IT to remotely wipe data, even personal media, if a phone is lost or stolen. Consider as well the use of mobile device management (MDM) software to encrypt and protect corporate data.

Communicate and train. While plenty of users will be jacked about using their own phone at work and getting a stipend to defray the cost, there will be others who see the move to BYOD as a hassle and lost perk. Consistent communication about the policies, especially around support, is essential as is walking users through any additional security measures.

Longtime contributor Beth Stackpole last wrote for Computerworld on IT execs learning to let go of their 'command and control' mindset .

Read more about mobile and wireless in Computerworld's Mobile and Wireless Topic Center.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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