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BYOD split-bill app maker launches in Australia

George Nott | July 20, 2016
Syntonic hopes to open an Australian office later this year

Syntonic CEO Gary Greenbaum and CIO Rahul Agarwal ringing the bell at the ASX this morning

Syntonic CEO Gary Greenbaum and CIO Rahul Agarwal ringing the bell at the ASX this morning 

"The attorneys in California have become one of our sales channels," explains Gary Greenbaum, CEO of Syntonic. An increasing number of calls to the Seattle-based firm, he says, open with: "Our lawyers told us to call you."

The spike in enquiries comes as a result of a 2014 lawsuit from an employee of a food delivery service over the business related use of his personal mobile. The California Court of Appeal ruled that the employer had to pay a "reasonable percentage of their cellphone bills".

Actions in other states and rulings covering data usage seem likely, sending CIOs who have launched bring-your-own-device (BYOD) schemes in search of a solution.

Syntonic, which listed on the ASX today, believes it has the answer - an app which allows companies to accurately separate the mobile data used for business from that used by personal apps.

"You're looking at your mobile data bill and it shows data and time but it doesn't show you what you actually used it for. Were you using Dropbox for business or playing on Facebook? It can't differentiate," explains CMO, Ben Rotholtz. For businesses with BYOD strategies in place, Rotholtz says, "there's a lot of guessing going on. And it's kind of scary territory if you're IT."

DataFlex splits an employee's phone into a 'business side and a personal side'. An employee downloads the app and signs in with their company credentials. This brings up a company branded library of apps approved for business use. Once an employee signs in, the data used by using sanctioned apps is recorded so it can be reimbursed through integration with their company's expense management system.

"This way the user knows that the data is being taken care of," says CIO and Syntonic co-founder Rahul Agarwal. "They don't have to worry about whether I'm using my personal plan or whether I'm going to be reimbursed or not. They know it's being paid for by the company. I don't have to worry about it."

On the company side, an analytics dashboard gives CIOs insight into the usage of each sanctioned app by employee, department, company or date. Different departments can be assigned different apps and data caps or geographic restrictions can be set.

Reimbursement future divided

There are only a handful of competitors in the split-billing space - like Good Technology's Good Work for Data and OpenPeak's Toggle - and none have emerged as market leader. Yet.

Greenbaum believes Syntonic's solution is superior, promising data cost savings of up to 50 per cent and productivity boosts of up to 10 per cent. There are also savings to be made in the administration cost of making expense claims, as well as better software license management.


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