BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
An effective mobile policy needs constant updating, monitoring of usage and regular nudging of employees to adhere to the rules
Chris Button is the travel & facilities manager for IGT UK Interactive Ltd, and her remit includes looking after the mobile phone account for her business unit. The travel side of the role covers responsibility for all aspects of IGT’s EMEA region travel, encompassing vendor negotiations and management, policy updates, compliance and reporting. She works closely with the US-based global head of travel to provide a unified, best-in-class and cost-effective service for all IGT’s travellers worldwide.
“Our policy derives from the global policy, and the business units try to feed into that to make it a level playing field, although in some jurisdictions that’s not possible because of the variations in providers or networks,” says Button. “The global policy applies to all employees, with the rider that there is an additional policy for the corporate office in the UK, which says employees are bound to observe local policy where it exists.
She adds: “The owners of the policy are very senior, the CTO of the company, and in the UK, it is owned by the HR team. The policy covers what people can and cannot do with their phone – we expect appropriate use of text and phone calls, and we try to curb personal use but sometimes that is necessary.
“We don’t encourage people to use their own devices, but where there are many contract staff, that does make life easier; so they use their own devices and bill us for the air time they use on our behalf.”
1 IGT UK Interactive develops games to be used on mobile devices, so we have a wealth of handsets knocking about the office for testing purposes. They are used as a business tool and not necessarily for making and receiving calls. The vast majority of our employees are given a corporate mobile phone, assuming their role denotes they need a phone to do the job. We expect them to keep their phone safe and to have a cover and screen protector on it – they can expense that. Everyone is on the Vodafone network – we have just brought in the last business unit and that has been tidied up from a number of providers. And, as of October, the standard company offering is iPhone 7 or Samsung 7. Some prefer to use their own phone for work and that’s fine if they’re happy to bear the cost. Employees are meant to register their personal device with the corporate approved mobile device management team. The company will not assume liability for a personal mobile device.
2 The end user must make a reasonable effort to protect their devices against loss, theft or damage. If a device is lost or stolen, the employee has to let our IT team know immediately, so that they can remotely wipe the data, so that there is no unauthorised access to company information. We ask employees to back up their data and contacts regularly. And we ask employees to note their phone’s EMEI number, a unique 15-digit code they can find by dialling #06#.
3 Staff who travel are responsible for informing someone who looks after mobiles so that they get a package relevant to a particular location – in some zones it costs silly money to make calls – and make sure people are aware of what tariff they are on so that they do not incur unnecessary costs. The Vodafone offering is very good, they have pretty much done away with roaming charges around Europe. We like people to be cautious and mindful; they are expected to log on to wifi as soon as they can for downloading things and there is a sensible checklist, so that they are not using the device for inappropriate data. And we recommend they have wifi-calling enabled so that they can make a call, even if the signal is poor. The policy also covers things like zero usage and in that event, the company will take the handset back because there is no point in that employee having it.
4 There are half a dozen super users for the administrative system attached to Vodafone, so the person in charge of mobiles can go on to the portal to check whether someone has got close to the end of their data bundle or calls for the month, and it is easy to see the bill and dialled numbers, so it is quite easy to police. Once or twice a year, we remind staff what the rules are, although it tends only to be people who don’t understand how it works or who accidentally increase charges because they think they have logged into wifi and they have not. If there is an issue, we go to the employee and ask them to explain it.
5 We don’t insure our mobile handsets because although we have got hundreds of devices, for the three or four that get lost or are irreparable, it is cheaper to replace them than to get tied into a fixed amount per set per month.