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How BYOD saved VMware $2 million

Thor Olavsrud | Feb. 4, 2013
VMware CIO Mark Egan explains how his company accomplished its feat.

Instead, employees in customer-facing roles are reimbursed up to $250 a month for their legitimate mobile-related expenses. Non-customer-facing employees are reimbursed up to $70 a month for their legitimate mobile-related expenses.

Put Business Leaders in Charge of Costs

The money for the reimbursement doesn't come out of Egan's budget. Instead, it comes out of the budget for the employee's department, meaning business leaders are incentivized to keep a tight rein on their employees' mobile costs, but also that they have the authority to reimburse at a greater level on a case-by-case basis.

"We do a report back to management on a monthly basis: All the folks in your department that have phones, here's what they spent," Egan says.

"The expense reports come in on a monthly basis and we work with the finance team to generate a report every month," he adds. "We have that check and balance. I put the onus on the business leader to make sure the expenses are appropriate for the employee."

Another way Egan spares VMware costs associated with BYOD is that the company does not provide technical support for employee-owned mobile devices beyond helping them get squared away with security and management technologies like its Horizon device management solution. But when it comes to repairs and similar issues, that's between the employee and the carrier/device manufacturer, though Egan does have a small number of cheap loaner phones on hand for emergencies.

So just what is Egan doing with the money he's saving?

"I took the $2 million in savings and invested it in IT programs that I would not otherwise have been able to do," he explains. "It went into upgrades to infrastructure and the security program: some of the key things that are not tied into revenue-generating projects for sales or R&D projects."

Advice for those Contemplating BYOD

In the end, Egan says he believes getting out of the phone business was one of the best decisions he's made in his tenure at VMware. Other organizations can do it too, he says.

"Start with phones," Egan suggests to any organization exploring BYOD. "I think it's kind of an easier one to approach. You will need executive support. If you don't have it, you won't be successful. I recommend going all in. If you have an opt-in, it's very hard to manage; you may get a lot of overhead and heartache in the process."

Also, change management is huge," Egan says. "Use a collaboration tool so employees can support each other. We use Socialcast, which is kind of like a Facebook for the enterprise. We just have a stream going and everybody kind of pitches in. It's amazing how you can get the employee base to resolve issues. It was just amazing the amount of collaboration that I got from the employees."


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