But Cruz hasn't been able to fend off the objections of California's state-employee unions so easily -- they don't want DHCS employees to have to bring their own phones. It may be "we can't force rank-and-file employees to buy phones," Cruz acknowledges. Negotiations are ongoing, and it's not clear right now whether there will be a compromise or what it will be exactly.
Because of ongoing negotiations with the unions over this, the DHCS BYOD plan isn't being made "mandatory" and is considered "voluntary" at this point, Cruz explained. But some users are getting on board, and the department reckons it's eliminated about $400,000 in costs.
"My goal is to eliminate mobile laptops over time," says Cruz, saying he expects to save about $1.6 million "by not refreshing laptops." Instead, the Good Technology software might be loaded onto tablets like iPads. DHCS is also looking at using the Citrix XenDesktop virtualization technology as well.
The idea is to allow workers more freedom to work from home if they use their own equipment. The department did look at providing stipends for employees, but decided "that contradicted the idea of saving money for the state," said Cruz. Other state CIOs, he acknowledges, weren't too keen on his agency's BYOD plan at the beginning, but criticism may be softening. In fact, says Cruz, DHCS won one of the "Best of California Technology Awards" last week for "Best Mobile/Wireless Project" from the Center for Digital Government.
Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.
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