The company phone as an incentive–Dinslaken municipal utilities

Smartphones for everyone!

“Smartphones for everyone!” – with this happy message, Stadtwerke Dinslaken is addressing all colleagues in its employee magazine “StaDion” in spring 2021. The background: With the switch to “Device as a Service” from Everphone, all of the utility’s employees now have the option of a modern company cell phone. Until then, only about every second employee received a company device.

User-centeredness instead of rigid IT procurement models

At Stadtwerke Dinslaken, the focus is not only on the performance of mobile devices, but also on the user experience. “We wanted to move away from rigid procurement practices and one-size-fits-all models,” notes IT Manager Benjamin Wiehn. He is the driving force behind the innovative mobile device strategy and is responsible for its implementation.

Giving employees the best possible equipment, establishing new ways of digital communication, and at the same time letting end users choose their own devices–all this goes hand in hand for Wiehn. At the same time, however, IT should also be relieved of the burden of device management. 

Taking over legacy devices

And what happens to the devices that are already in circulation? Everphone has a simple solution for legacy devices: the smartphones are bought off of the company and then rented back to it.  We call this procedure “buy and rent back” (BARB). Thanks to BARB, users can continue to use their devices without interruption, with the only difference being that they are now covered by Everphone’s comprehensive service (excluding exchange devices for broken phones). After one month, users can switch to one of the new devices from the CYOD lineup.

Field of action

Transfer of existing devices with a BARB approach (buy and rent back) and subsequent gradual modernization of the device fleet while extending the offering to all employees. Switch to “device as a service” to relieve the IT department from handling mobile devices. Sharpening of the employer profile and personnel marketing.

Requirements

The goal was to reduce internal effort and improve the smartphone user experience. The outtasking of all tasks related to mobile device procurement and management served to relieve the IT department. Employees were to be allowed to choose their own smartphones. In addition, private use of the devices was expressly provided for.  

Private use of company smartphones
(“hybrid scenario”)

When smartphones are used for both private and business purposes, questions arise about data protection and data security–with end users and IT specialists. The solution is to use mobile device management (MDM) software.

An MDM sets up an encrypted workspace on the end device. This space, managed by IT, contains only business data and applications and allows new apps to be installed only if they have been approved by IT. This makes mixed use fully GDPR-compliant.

There are also simple solutions when it comes to phone number separation: All smartphones offered by Everphone are dual-SIM capable. This means that two phone numbers can be used simultaneously in the device. If users want to continue using their beloved private number, that’s no problem.  

“Not everyone wants to work with an iPhone”: Google Pixel

Having IT or purchasing select the devices for employees is no longer a contemporary equipment concept. Stadtwerke Dinslaken has recognized this: Here, employees are allowed to decide for themselves which end device they want to work with. At Everphone, this approach is called CYOD (“Choose your own Device”). With CYOD, users can decide for themselves whether they prefer iOS or Android, a handy or particularly large display, a mid-range model or the flagship.

From an IT perspective, planning security is also an important aspect when procuring mobile devices. If Android smartphones and tablets no longer receive security updates after just two years and new operating system versions are no longer rolled out to the devices, their operation is no longer secure.

This is the case with many entry-level devices, which is why IT often opts for iOS devices from Apple. In the meantime, however, Android devices have similarly long support. The Google Pixel 6a or Google Pixel 7, for example, receive Android updates for a guaranteed period of five years.

Sustainability: refurbishing and extended service lives

Returned devices, i.e., defective devices or devices whose rent has ended, are refurbished by Everphone and marketed again after certified data erasure. This procedure gives smartphones a second life cycle and significantly extends their life span. This not only makes economic sense–more and more people are taking a critical view of smartphones in terms of production conditions and environmental aspects. They want the resource-intensive high-tech devices to be handled sustainably. With Everphone, Stadtwerke Dinslaken can meet this need, because the usage concept is circular “by design”.

"In my professional career to date, I have never experienced an IT project that has generated such high user response. The consistently positive feedback is the best proof for me that the decision for CYOD was the right one."
Benjamin Wiehn
Head of IT | Stadtwerke Dinslaken

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