Cisco, Sanofi take different paths to mobility

SAN FRANCISCO-- U.S. high-tech behemoth Cisco and French drug giant Sanofi took very different approaches to their mobility strategies, related two IT execs from those companies at the CITE Conference held here this week.

Cisco decided to go all in with a BYOD program for its entire staff of 70,000 employees, explained Brett Belding, senior manager of IT at Cisco.

By contrast, Sanofi took the more conservative corporately owned, personally enabled, also known as COPE, approach for most of its 10,000 employees, while allowing limited BYOD device use, said Brian Katz, head of mobility innovation at Sanofi.

"That means we buy the devices for our people… but the devices are personally enabled, so we don't stop them from playing Angry Birds," Katz explained.

"Even though we have different approaches, our goal is to enable people. In the end, we know that they are going to put corporate data on those devices--that is the whole point," Katz added.

To solve the mobility problem: "We need to stop thinking about smartphones and tablets. We need to start thinking about platforms," observed Belding.

At Cisco: "We didn't write up a BYOD policy, because BYOD is about ownership. Instead, we wrote a trusted device policy… Whatever device you want to use, it has to meet [certain security parameters]," Belding said.

Katz noted that Sanofi only allows limited access for BYOD devices. "For us, we are a little bit different because we are a pharmaceutical firm. We haven't completely bought into BYOD--yet. We only give access to email, calendar and contacts. Even then, you have to have a device we can install the client on," related Katz.

When it comes to mobile apps, both firms have decided to deploy enterprise app stores.

"People are going to do the work, whether you give them a tool or not. So you need to give them the tools that will make them more productive. You need to give them a tool that gives them great user experience, that has been blessed by security and that has full support if anything goes wrong. That is what the curated app store is all about," said Belding.

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