Fitting a BYOD Program into Your Trucking World

Imagine with me (and maybe this won’t be too hard) that you’re a mid-size trucking company with 50 drivers moving freight through the upper Midwest. As a fleet manager, you might want to think about how a BYOD program (bring your own device) can help you stay in touch with your drivers and also provide them with tools so they can easily log their hours, check route maps, maybe even keep track of maintenance issues.

We find that more and more drivers are the ones bringing their devices to work. They come armed with new smartphones and tablets, and they’re looking to have the same experience they have at home in the cab of their truck.

The good news?

You can use those devices with a BYOD program for your fleet.

BYO—Not just for the barbeque anymore

As employees gain access to technology in their personal lives, companies are increasingly looking at BYOD programs to lower their own IT and support costs, help keep their employees happier, and take advantage of cutting-edge consumer technology.

Corporate-provided devices—like the once-ubiquitous Blackberry—had previously been seen as a sign of having arrived. The company would provide a device and phone/data plan in exchange for a certain level of access to the employee. Status in the corporate world meant having a company Blackberry.

But then Apple’s iPhone ushered in a wave of smartphone innovation and employees began asking if they could use their personal smartphones and tablets rather than their corporate-issued counterparts.

As Blackberry’s luster faded, iOS and Android devices have surged into the gap and become the new coveted devices of choice. And companies have grown more willing to adapt to their employees’ preferred mobile devices.

In the BYOD world, the employee brings the device and the company provides a certain level of support, and perhaps even some compensation. On average, that might range from $30 to $60 per month, all the way up to a corporate phone/data plan that the employee simply chooses to use.

For that mid-size trucking company we introduced at the beginning, you now only need a fraction of the IT support staff, and in exchange you have drivers who are happy to use a device they’re already familiar with.

In many BYOD scenarios this leads to greater adoption of mobile devices and the efficiencies that come along with that.

The economy of a BYOD program

The technology-research firm Gartner has been tracking the trend toward BYOD in the workplace, and they predict that BYOD will be on offer at nearly 50% of workplaces by 2020, up from the 6% of workplaces where it’s currently offered today.

Over time, companies that provide mobile devices will begin to reduce the number of devices they issue to their employees, and instead turn to BYOD models that are more agile, less expensive, and allow their employees to use a device of their own choice.

Measuring success in the BYOD world

BYOD is a major shift in the way that companies think about technology within their workforce, and employers have to be able to gauge the success of these new initiatives.

Gartner advises companies thinking about BYOD to consider what their goals are.

Do you want to increase employee satisfaction?

Expand mobility use throughout your workforce?

Reduce costs? Ease the burden on your IT department?

Each of these are possible outcomes from a BYOD approach, but success in each category will be measured differently, so it’s good to know what you’re shooting for.

What are the costs of a BYOD program?

While BYOD represents a cost-savings over providing a corporate-issued device and supporting it, there are still some costs to keep in mind.

  • Are you paying for your employees’ full text/voice and data plans?
  • What application (license) costs will come from diverse mobile platforms?
  • IT administration, while minimized will still be needed
  • Infrastructure for the diverse platforms

Are there concerns?

BYOD seems like a great way to bring more technology into the workplace without breaking the corporate bank. And while employees might be happier using their iPhones or Samsung Galaxy Tablets rather than a corporate-issue Blackberry, there are still some concerns to keep in mind.

As you think about incorporating BYOD at your company, you may want to consider the following complaints and plan around them.

  • Employees are sometimes worried that they won’t be able to use some of their favorite apps.
  • Similarly, employees worry about over-zealous security, which can bog their devices down.
  • How does the company safeguard its proprietary data with a wide range of mobile devices in the world?
  • Every BYOD scenario is governed by a policy, and sometimes these policies are so complex that it scares employees away from participating.
  • Employees are concerned about being tracked or monitored by their company, so it’s crucial to address privacy concerns in the BYOD policy.

Some other questions to keep in mind are how to handle a device after the employee leaves the company. And does the employee take their phone number with them?

These questions should all be ironed out in advance of switching to a BYOD format.

BYOD programs and the XRS product

The XRS product was built for mobile devices, on mobile devices, and with a BYOD program in mind. As enterprise technology grows more consumerized, we recognize the power that it has on fleets. The XRS solution works with over 50 popular devices available today. Drivers can use familiar devices to add FMCSA-compliant driver logs, Driver Vehicle Inspection reports, and transmit data on the health of their trucks back to the home office.

The BYOD landscape

The explosion in mobile devices over the past couple years has led to a rapidly-changing landscape for mobile technology, and companies have to be prepared to offer more options for their employees.

For companies looking to stay at the front edge of technological innovation and keep their mobile support IT costs low, BYOD offers a bright future by providing greater mobile access and putting employees in the driver seat.