Everybody’s got his or her own device, but not every company has the right system in place to allow employees to use personal devices for business purposes without friction. Gary Greenbaum, CEO of Syntonic, recently shared with PYMNTS his perspective on how companies can make BYOD a solution, rather than a problem.
More than 80 percent of workplaces now allow their employees to use their own personal mobile devices to connect to the company network. As BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs become more popular, what should corporations keep in mind concerning potential benefits, as well as pitfalls?
GG: The concern is that there is sort of the unforeseen pitfalls.
I think there are a lot of things that we recognize that are visible — like security, for example — but the biggest concern relates to the less apparent issues, mainly the inefficiencies associated with BYOD. One of those, of course, is the question of who pays. The hidden cost of the access related to employees’ use of those devices for accessing business resources, business applications and business data.
Syntonic just launched a corporate mobility solution for split billing that is going to enable enterprises to more easily manage those BYOD deployments. Could you tell us exactly how that works?
GG: We’ve made it very simple for companies to embrace; we obviously want to reduce the friction. The solution is currently deployed through a self-service, Web-based portal where an IT administrator can sign in and very quickly provision their employees devices with the appropriate applications needed for the specific job function. This portal also has the ability to service all of the rich app-level data analytics in real time, so the company knows how various departments or individuals are using corporate resources for their job function.
On the employee side, again, we need to make this frictionless; if we introduce anything that impedes the process, employees are less likely to use it, and they’ll tell as much to IT. With the Syntonic solution, the employee downloads an application from the iOS or Android store and logs in with their corporate credentials; this particular application presents the look and the company branding, so it feels like it’s a company app. It also comes with the links to the various applications that the company has assigned to the individual employee: for example, if I’m on the sales team, I need to make sure that I have access to my Salesforce, my email application, my calling system and so on. We enable the solution such that when you use these native applications on the device, that traffic is segmented from the personal traffic.
The personal traffic is billed as normal through the mobile carrier; we don’t access any of it. However, all of the business traffic gets routed to our back-end, cloud-based proxy where we do much of the analytics around that and can actually provide the billing associated with that traffic to the employer.
One of the really unique differentiators is that we’re operator-independent. We view that as essential because if you’re selling a BYOD solution into an enterprise, it needs to work across all carriers. The enterprise can’t really dictate what carriers their employees are attached to for personal use. We handle the split billing so that one data and voice bill goes to the company, and another goes to the employee.
The alternative solution that allows us to confidently say, right now, that we have a BYOD solution anywhere in the world is that we actually plumb into the expense-reporting systems or the payroll systems so that the employee gets reimbursed for the amount of voice and data that was used on their personal devices. It circumvents the integration required for an operator bill, as we instead provide the reimbursement directly into the existing infrastructure at the company.
When industries such as government and health care allow employees to use their own personal mobile devices to read work emails and access the company network, it can create a situation where private information is put at risk. Should companies that are worried about such security implications implement a stronger data security approach, or what should they be doing?
GG: I think it’s really a function of the industry. When it comes to data security, sometimes people use a hammer when they only need a set of pliers.
It depends upon the particular business segment. Frankly, there’s no shortage of security solutions out there; we don’t happen to offer one ourselves because, in some respects, it’s a commodity, and there are a lot of companies that are focused on mobile security.
What trends have you observed in the enterprise mobility space? What are you hearing from clients? And how are those trends impacting the payments industry overall?
GG: If you take a look at the acquisitions that have taken place in the mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobile management (EMM) space, it’s very clear that consolidation is occurring. VMware purchased AirWatch; just recently, BlackBerry purchased Good Technology; IBM purchased MaaS360 last year.
What that is signifying is that pure MDM is still somewhat of a commodity. What companies are really looking for are richer solutions — not just device management. As a result of these acquisitions they’re making, companies can really sell into the industry a full enterprise mobility solution, as opposed to the component technologies that MDM providers offer.
Where we fit into this is we provide an adjacent revenue stream and service to enterprises that complement MDM and some of the other business services can provide.