At their best BYOD Programs increase mobile employee-productivity and job satisfaction while cutting the employer’s hardware costs and avoiding fines from Regulators. Employee reticence to take them up however is driven by dislike of using their own number to take business calls out of hours and the imposition of company controlled MDM features, such as remote-wipe.

Consequently BYOD uptake often falls short of its potential leaving the promise unfulfilled.

Split persona phone numbers are meant to help and on paper they would seem to but the technology is limited to either MVNO integrations or virtual SIMs that limit deployment to one or two carriers or countries or require mass SIM replacement; neither of which are a panacea or meet the test of a universally-applicable solution continuously applied as employees join and leave in a rolling BYOD provisioning cycle.

Even more difficult; BYOD telephony has to work across the infrastructure & device mix of the corporate & employee combined estate while being globally operable across all mobile networks.

Blackberry has made an effort to resolve these challenges by going on a partnering and acquisition spree,  but one wonders whether it understands the difficulty it faces in combining these proprietary & partner technologies into a combined solution offering the essential elements needed to meet customer needs, even within industries that aren’t highly regulated?

To be compelling an ideal BYOD-centric mobile solution would offer global split persona and billing (any country or carrier) with company-owned, city-prefixed numbers. Once provisioned the application should include automated smart LCR and Roaming cost-reduction technology to eliminate the $millions in wastage through reimbursing sky high employee consumer-rate tariff charges for their international calls and roaming.

 

Compliance Officers may breathe a sigh of relief at the likelihood of a delay to MiFID II compliance but our experience is that most banks won’t be able to comply even with an extra year, should they get it. In fact complying with MiFID II isn’t necessarily the entire point, as existing rules are already catching out banks at an alarming rate with massive fines ever more common.

Mobile Technology; The Law – and –  Human Behaviour

Where BYOD, SMS, and Mobile Calls are used in business we find numerous risks over-arched by a struggle to avoid fines even where nothing illegal has occurred.

In terms of MiFID II preparation; most major financial services organisation we meet presents as ill-informed on technical limitations of  capturing in & outbound mobile communications in compliance with  global regulatory requirements – while struggling to also grasp how to organise mobile call-data, to satisfy discovery demands of  Regulators in under 72 hours.  With BYOD now prevalent and growing, how could they ?

Compliance Officers’ general lack of  deep IT knowledge is the Achilles heel of many banks & financial services companies effort to align with the new requirements, and in our experience Consultants hired by banks to bridge the gap often also struggle, despite having IT backgrounds.

How likely therefore is compliance? To RFP, shortlist, pilot, procure, plan and deploy a globally compliant, cost effective mobile-policy / SaaS strategy, that satisfies MiFID II,  across a blended mobile estate of CYOD, BYOD or Company Mobiles in under two years is a big ask.

To recognise potential solutions requires an understanding of the sometimes complex elements of mobile infrastructure, OTT Applications, Mobile Call Recording and Secure Data Storage & Analytics technologies.

To qualify to offer a solution vendors must provide enterprise grade global telephony network access that sits OTT on all existing mobile contracts, handsets and MAM, MDM deployments such as the market leading Good Dynamics. The rest is down to robust and widely applicable policy rules that narrow down the technologies and communication mediums employees can use.

 

I believe that a recent article in VentureBeat which looks at how Android could just be a band aid for Blackberry misses the real point.

The key factor, from my experience, is that handsets aren’t that relevant in today’s world, providing the the SaaS Software and Services Blackberry sells are unique and brilliant.

After all, who cares what handset you use as long as you operate within their differentiated software environment, and pay to do it?

Answer: No one!

 

Mobile technology is powerful but like most personal technologies it has become a lever for corporate profitability rather than a lever for reducing employee stress and working hours.

BYOD is great for corporations; it reduces capex; assures biennial technology renewal cycles and makes it easy to reach into employee’s personal time for work reasons.

Employees must then claim mobile expenses by painstaking filling in of forms and waiting for them to be processed –  meanwhile enhancing their employer’s cash flow.

Downsides for the corporation are 3-fold. Control of the device, its uses and its security. Reduction of mobile call charge reimbursement costs. Compliance, with mobile call & other comms apps recording regulations.

If bi-lateral benefits can be optimised a healthy balance of employer/employee benefits can be found with huge economies of scale in call costs, reductions in training & compliance wastage, and powerful user satisfaction & productivity enhancements.

Who will find a way to optimise these benefits first. The MNO’s, independent quick thinking App Developers, or Mobile Device Management companies?

 

A recent article in the Telegraph has highlighted the tension between the mobile business lifestyle and enhanced compliance requirements is causing a Shift in C-Suite Power Dynamics.

Fines and reputation damage are now big enough as to trump a lot of major revenue generating activities – so the compliance officer is someone to win over when selling new technology solutions.

First do no harm, then – prove productivity & employee satisfaction and you have a fighting chance of winning the business.

 

As regulations surrounding electronic communications within trading environments of financial services organisations tighten, are personal devices about to be banned to avoid potential breaches and heavy fines.

Over the past few years, a number of regulations have been introduced by governing bodies, including Dodd-Frank in the USA and a number regulatory requirements introduced by the FCA in the UK, all with the purpose of decreasing the opportunity for market abuse.

While these regulations are far reaching, one of the areas which attracts most attention is the capture and archiving requirement surrounding trades, including all electronic communications

Some of these regulatory changes have been phased in by the UK and US, MiFID II will come into force in January 2017, requiring all financial services organisations within the EU to capture trade related communications regardless of platform or device.

With the ever increasing number of communications channels available, ensuring compliance with the regulations has become difficult even before taking into consideration the requirement to be able to create complete case reconstructions within 72 hours of an investigatory request.

All the while, organisations are investigating BYOD policies which balance regulatory requirements with enabling employees to use their own mobile devices for business reasons.

For regulated industry firms, such policies are often severely limited by the complexity of capturing all conversations.

This burden is so great that some firms are considering banning the use of all personal devices at or for work, as well as blocking social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp –  to ensure regulations aren’t breached.

In many way’s the approach is actually sound. Unless firms ban SM Platforms and personal devices in the workplace and issue corporate owned handsets on a single global mobile contract, some argue that they cannot see how to completely capture & archive the feeds necessary to be compliant with regulations, and the 72hr case reconstruction test.

In many cases, firms have looked at what is best from a set of incomplete solutions, backed by a robust communications compliance policy. Some think the logical response is to simply ban all personal devices at work. However, it is possible to have a single, complete solution which incorporates all feeds, channels and devices – whether personal or corporate.

What to look for in a compliant solution

When looking for a single solution to enable a compliant, BYOD deployment that satisfies key financial regulations, a number of elements must be incorporated.

OTT deployment on corporate and BYOD handsets

Any solution should be deployed OTT (over-the-top), across both the corporate owned and BYOD handsets, without disruption to your/your employees existing mobile contracts. This is fundamental to timely satisfaction of MIFID2 as firms cannot afford lengthy, disruptive, complex deployments.

CRM integration with call recording

Useful for both employer and employee, a solution which integrates with your CRM minimises time taken to write, type and capture notes from calls with counterparties and clients – while also ensuring completeness, context and accuracy of call history.

Automatic call recordings

Recording calls isn’t a subjective requirement and it’s better to capture all calls rather than be reliant on allowing someone to decide whether to record a call or not. Therefore it’s imperative that all calls and communications via a device are captured, with recordings being controlled, monitored and available centrally – not recorded on the device.

Least cost routing without losing quality

While not an essential component for regulatory compliance reasons, it’s always good to keep your costs low. However, this must not mean a reduction in call quality. This means it’s best to avoid VoIP as recording quality may suffer for evidentiary interrogation while anything less than mobile carrier grade for enterprise really fails the fit for purpose test.

Powerful search and recover tools

Firms cannot be compliant with the regulations unless they can reconstruct cases quickly and, in most cases, within 72 hours. This requires keyword searches to be conducted across all forms of communication (including calls, SMS, feeds and social media), with the option to review, check for context, and recall each call into the case for submission to the investigation.

Robust and enforceable BYOD policy to support any technology

It’s all well and good implementing technology to enable BYOD, but without a robust policy which can be enforced, it may still be difficult to ensure regulatory compliance. That may include banning certain social media which could being used either directly or indirectly to transact or influence the transactions of others in any traded financial instrument or security.

It will also need to ensure all employees know their obligations and set out programmes of education in accordance with the policy. Providing the solution is intuitive and does not require a change in behaviour, education does not need to be complex or expensive.

VENNCOMM can help implement a BYOD policy

It’s getting harder and harder to keep personal devices away from business. We don’t believe that they can or should be especially with a the potential cost and motivational benefits BYOD brings.

Through the use of our proprietary technology, we can help organisations in heavily regulated industries meet the BYOD demands of their employees – while also simplifying the cost management process, and even significantly reducing phone charges.

If you’re unsure, or would like to know more, get in touch and we can set up a demonstration and free trial for you to see for yourself.

 

I recently stumbled across a nice infographic related to B2B Sales and which channels convert better and it got me thinking about whether (based on the data presented) there are ways to speed up the Sales Process. We all know and love a Sales Funnel but the findings of the research by Implisit (they created the infographic) makes for scary reading.

Apparently it takes 84 days to convert 13% of Leads in to Opportunity. 84 days. That’s almost 3 months if you count the weekends! The next stat also raises an eyebrow – only 6% of those Opportunities actually turn in to a deal. While there is no reference to the other 87% of Leads I’m wondering if they haven’t been included because the 87% get qualified out. If that is the case then you are definitely going to need a stack of Leads to get anywhere.

Implisit’s research also looked at which channel / lead source tend to convert best and there are a few surprises here as well. Customer & Employee Referrals sit top of the pile but Lead Lists, Events and Email Campaigns convert more slowly and in fewer number.

So what does this mean for those of us in Marketing and Sales? Well…it means we need to set things up to focus on the channels that have the shortest conversion time and and with the highest conversion rate. This research suggests Email Campaigns and Lead Lists should be consigned to the “Last Resort” category with very little attention given to them. I think there is a place for these activities but on the understanding and general business acknowledgement that they are slow burners. Your effort and resources shouldn’t be centred on these channels if the returns are minimal so when a Sales Director asks to send out an email campaign to try and generate new Leads he is doing himself a disservice.

Focus on ways to set up a referral program whereby existing Customers and Employees can benefit. Not only is the conversation rate better but there may also be a cost saving (e.g. no spend on lots of advertising). Also look at how you can incorporate Social Media in to your overall strategy and how Sales can leverage Social for both prospecting and conversion of existing leads. What does a Lead look like? Do Marketing and Sales define them differently? Where is the common ground?

Now you may be able to sit there and tell me that this is all rubbish and that your business has been able to map out exactly which channels convert the best as well as the average time to conversion but you are likely to be in the minority. For those of us who have a million things to do at the same time we rarely get the time to sit down and analyse historical data. Hopefully this post and the infographic have made you stop and think for a second and maybe you’ve even made a note to re-assess your marketing activities to try and determine which ones work best. If not…maybe you’ll keep plodding on wondering why you aren’t getting anywhere.

 

Well, we’d like to help by providing a little guide on the cost of conference calling and what may be happening in your business to drive those charges up. We also want to take a moment to offer a few suggestions as to how you can lower those costs.

The starting point is to determine the nature of your business – do you know if the calls made by the business (I’m rounding everyone up here in to one big lump) are mostly internal or mostly external? If they are mostly internal do you have employees regularly travelling to other countries or employees being relocated for new roles / offices?

Answers of “mostly internal” and “yes they move/relocate” generally lead to the following scenario and a severe hike in call charges;

Executive A has been located in France for the past 5 years working on a number of projects. He connects to his internal calls via a local French number – one that he’s been able to memorise over time. He sees a new internal role being promoted in Poland and applies. He’s successful and moves to the Polish office to start work. As he gets set up in the new Polish office he is provided with a new mobile phone and new Polish number.

The following week he is required to join an internal team call with his new sub-ordinates. He uses his new Polish mobile and automatically dials the number he has had memorised for years – the number in France! This means he is making an international call from Poland to France to connect to an internal team call.

We’ve seen that the above scenario is far too common and means call charges are being unnecessarily inflated because employees are connecting via the numbers they can remember rather than the numbers that are most relevant (cheapest).

Just imagine this call from Poland to France costs £0.50 per minute (for ease of maths) and Executive A has 1 internal team call per week for 30 minutes. That’s £15 per week or £780 for the year due to a single weekly call. Now imagine 10 Executives doing exactly the same thing. Now see where your call charges may be coming from?

So what can you do to reduce these charges – there are two things you can do though we’d argue one is likely to be easier than the other; re-condition your employees to memorise new local numbers and stop being lazy or you could find a solution where they don’t have to dial in at all (or use pins) and the call connection automatically happens by using the number most relevant to that particular Exec.

If you like the idea of option number 2 then we’d encourage you to come and talk to us and let us help you reduce the cost of conference calling while at the same time making life easier for your employees.