Brendan O'Malley, VP of Sales at Tasty Baking, had been the company's CIO for about three-and-a-half years before transitioning to his new role in 2010. He says his efforts at driving mobility initiatives as CIO were part of the reason he was given the new position.
"Now we're moving toward a wireless solution that we will use to do better merchandising that we are deploying this month," O'Malley told us in April 2010. "There's also a ton of opportunities to do more from a reporting and business intelligence perspective. Our sales guys hardly knew what we had and how it could be used. They didn't know right questions to ask and ways to do things. We've started to push out more information to these guys, right now thru email for laptops. I see that [evolving] into more ways to push out data and information on all kinds of devices and upgrading what they've got."
Tasty Baking is exploring what kind of sales reporting tools it can deliver onto smartphones, says O'Malley. " If we could push stuff from SAP onto BlackBerry in a way that is meaningful and effective, that would be our next step."
For Tasty Baking, the corporate-liable model is the only option for its 50-70 smartphone users. "We make all decisions about which model, which carrier," says O'Malley. "We pay all the bills, and take care of all the support. Having just one central account really helps to manage that."
He adds that, "If you're just trying to provide people with phone service, then it depends how complex your solution is," O'Malley says. "If it's just that everybody should have a mobile phone number? Well, then, maybe that doesn't need to be a corporate-liable device. That's relatively simple, you can get that from multiple vendors, and it requires little integration into corporate system."
Beyond that, O'Malley sees the corporate-owned route as the most efficient option. "Even if you want just email and calendar, then pretty quickly you're into integration and security," he says. "As an IT organization, you want to think about having more control in order to provide it at a reasonable cost."
He notes that the least cost-effective model is one in which employees pay for their own devices and service plans and then file expense reports to reclaim some or all of those costs.
"People think it's cheaper, but you can waste a lot of time that way," he says. "That's invisible time to the organization. When I did consulting, we had employees charging clients $250 an hour who were spending a half hour going through their phone bills every month highlighting business calls versus personal calls. What is the value to anybody of that time? I'd rather say you're allowed a limited amount of personal usage on here. Drive on. If we know this makes you more productive, have at it."
Having a clear acceptable-use policy that enables corporate-liable employees to spend a predetermined amount of their smartphone time on personal purposes is key, says O'Malley. "What we say in policies is that a limited amount of personal usage is acceptable. And if you have any question about personal usage, you should talk to your supervisor. It's not a technology issue, it's a leadership, management, and productivity issue."