As rapidly as mobility has taken hold in the workplace, so has BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), for many good reasons. Allowing employees to use their mobile device of choice for work leads to happier workers, who can carry a single device for work and personal use, and controls employers’ mobility costs because they no longer have to buy smartphones or tablets for all their mobile workers.
Now that a lot of the early worries about security threats from hackers and lost or stolen mobile devices have been addressed by comprehensive enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions including BlackBerry Enterprise Mobility Suite, formerly known as Good Secure EMM Suites, business-app containerization and BYOD corporate use policies, employers are looking to address some of the more mundane aspects of telecom expense management – like how to pay for employees’ work-related mobile device use when they aren’t buying the devices or paying the monthly service charges. As Gartner shows in its May 2016 research note “How to Manage BYOD Stipends, Reimbursements and Allowances, 2016 Update,” handling the payment of subsidies has proven to be one of the most problematic aspects of BYOD mobile programs.
A 2014 California appellate court decision added urgency to figuring out this issue. In Cochran v. Schwan’s Home Services, Inc., the court ruled that if an employer requires an employee to use his or her personal mobile device for work, the employer must reimburse the employee for the work-related portion of the monthly service bill. While the court decision only legally applies in California, it’s lit a fire under employers, who don’t want to risk being sued over the same issue, wherever they’re located.
Since mobile service bills don’t break out how data is used, a lot of employers are taking the easy path and giving employees a flat monthly fee that they estimate covers the work-related portion of their monthly bill. Other employers elect to pay the entire bill to avoid potential liability issues entirely. The trouble is, by paying the whole bill or allocating the same reimbursement to every employee who uses their phone for work, employers are probably paying too much. And it also brings up other compliance issues related to taxation and employee benefits, not to mention the additional business cost to process expense reports (estimated by Aberdeen Group to be about $18 per expense report) – and also the administrative burden on employees to submit and accounting to remit reimbursements.
BlackBerry’s new WorkLife solutions were created to add precision to calculation of an employee’s work-related mobile device costs. Thanks to the BlackBerry Dynamics (formerly known as Good Dynamics) platform, work data and apps are containerized and separated from personal apps and data, making it perfectly clear what percentage of data is used – and exactly how much each employee should be reimbursed – for work.
BlackBerry WorkLife – Advanced Analytics is a cloud service that gives enterprises visibility into the cellular data usage of work applications at a user, application and carrier level without infringing on users’ personal privacy or content. It does this by measuring data used by any BlackBerry Dynamics, custom-built or third-party business applications developed with the BlackBerry Dynamics SDK v2.0 or later. Its reports show how much data is used by app, user, device or carrier, and can be also exported for offline analysis to support reimbursement calculations or compliance. Personal data usage or activity on the device is never tracked, and no changes in user behavior or mobile device installations are required.
BlackBerry WorkLife – Reimbursement goes a step further by facilitating the reimbursement process for work-related data usage costs for approved business apps built with the BlackBerry Dynamics SDK v2.0 or higher on iOS and Android devices. This direct expense management payment ensures your organization pays only for the data employees use for work and averts potential HR, tax and compliance problems related to reimbursement for employee mobile device use. Employees can be secure that that they won’t be billed for approved business use on their personal data plans, and businesses can be certain that company mobility costs are under control with no surprise bills.
BYOD is here to stay, so it’s imperative that employers add simplicity and certainty to employee reimbursement for business data use. BlackBerry’s new WorkLife solutions – Advanced Analytics and Reimbursement – give both employers and employees the confidence that workers have the right tools and the correct reimbursement to do their jobs correctly. For more information about how to put WorkLife solutions to work simplifying your BYOD reimbursements, visit the official WorkLife product page.