Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled (COPE) - the Next Wave in Mobility

By Scott Kraege, Director at MOBI Wireless Management — September 25, 2012

As the BYOD conversation begins to dwindle, the discussion will turn to the next wave in mobile trends: COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled). COPE gives both employers and employees the freedom of BYOD, while also offering a slew of benefits to each party.

Corporate Owned
The corporate owned (CO) portion of the COPE policy helps companies keep their networks and information secure, which has become one of the biggest backlashes of the traditional BYOD program in the workplace. CO means that the company still owns the line of service and selects its preferred device and usage cost thresholds for employees to consider.

This kind of ownership grants the company the right to wipe or disconnect devices on the corporate network, and ultimately offers pre-established security, just like the pre-BYOD days.

Personally Enabled
While 77% of BYOD employees dislike the use of MDM on their device, the personally enabled (PE) aspect of COPE allows employees to choose the company-approved device they prefer from a predetermined list, while also enabling them to use it both personally and professionally like with BYOD.

The first step in instituting COPE is for the company to select preferred devices based on what its wireless environment is suited to support. With this approach, a company can select, for example, a Blackberry 9300 at no additional cost.

If an employee wants an iPhone, then the company only pays a predetermined amount (e.g. “cost threshold”). Employees then pay the remaining amount as outlined in the policy. This can also be implemented in a way that the company doesn’t offer any preferred device, but instead sets only a cost threshold for all users, no matter the device.

Usage costs operate similarly to cost thresholds for devices. Companies choose a predetermined amount they will pay toward usage fees, such as voice minutes, texting, data, multimedia or international plans. Whatever the company does not cover in its cost threshold for usage is the responsibility of the employee. By setting these limits, the company is able to control the outcome of each monthly bill without limiting an employee to a single device or plan.

Coping with COPE

Transitioning to this kind of program might seem like a headache, but MDM outsourcing helps IT departments seamlessly roll out COPE and maintain its features. In addition to working directly on this kind of program, MDM companies, can assist in adding more advanced features, troubleshooting, optimizing bills and handling administration.

Employee and employer benefits are plentiful. COPE doesn’t just offer the feel of a BYOD policy; it truly gives employees the opportunity to customize both their device selection and data plan with the help of their company’s IT budget.

These kinds of plans typically come with discounted offers, but it doesn’t stop there. Employees will also have the support system and help they need from their IT departments and MDM representatives, if companies choose to contract one.

Employers reap benefits all the same. Costs can be controlled and cut by pooling minutes, lowering costs per device, having manageable budgets and offering continual optimization. In some cases, giving employees the ability to customize their plans can ultimately result in productivity outside the office. With COPE, the employer also has control over things like carrier, device preference and MDM capabilities.

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