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Settling the Score: The Real Story Behind Fantasy Football in the Enterprise

fantasy football

At least twice a year, employers are faced with the negative effects of BYOD – during March Madness and the start of Fantasy Football. What began as a small group of middle-aged men who sat around a Manhattan restaurant talking about baseball, board games, and athlete statistics has grown into a cultural phenomenon that we all know and enjoy. Just over 30 years later, the Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that 32 million Americans spend $467 per person or about $15 billion in total playing fantasy sports. Approximately $11 billion of this is centered on football—excluding the ad revenue spend for fantasy hosting sites.

So, what does this mean for the enterprise?

According to a recent study from the law firm Challenger, Gray & ChristmasFantasy Football costs businesses $13.4 billion a season. The process they used to come up with this number was fairly straightforward. According to the study, the firm estimated 18.3 million employees play fantasy football on the job for two hours each week; they multiplied that number by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ $24.45 hourly wage average. The result: $895 million lost each week.

Whether you agree on the firm’s math or not, the distraction Fantasy Football presents is real and something enterprises need to prepare for. In addition to lost productivity, which can take the form of daily disruptions to slowing down the company network as players  manage their rosters from the office instead of home, it’s clear there are cost issues that need to be addressed. Following are a few best practices tips to help enterprises prepare this season’s games:

Real-Time Mobile Expense Management – Track employee device usage in real-time.  When devices are approaching usage thresholds against carrier plans or when roaming, both you and your employee need to know. Roaming charges do not always appear right away and companies may be unaware of the fees they are about to be charged until long after the incident occurs.

Mobile Policy Management – Policy management is often the critical path to scale your device and control expectations across hundreds or thousands of devices. The lack of a robust mobile policy can mean trouble, from financial—cost creep due to limited control of device types, rate plans, and ownership—to risks involving governance, confidentiality provisions, and more. Aside from the standard benefits of mobile policy management (greater control of spend, visibility into inventory, usage control, etc.), organizations with strong policy management gain greater data protection and security. You also want to have automated responses generated in real-time by a rules engine when the device is out of compliance. For example, if the OS is out of date or an application requires a patch.

Mobile Application Management – IDC estimates that the worldwide app market will be worth $35 billion by the end of this year. While this numbers differs depending on who you talk to, all figures point to a massive market that cannot be ignored. As a result, it’s critical to establish an application portal with the apps that the enterprise has approved. If an employee has the freedom to download any streaming application, that could accumulate unnecessary fees.

  • Make sure you have visibility into device inventory for detection of applications no longer in compliance or a compliance violation. IT administrators need the ability to remove apps automatically or inform the end-user via a custom, localized alert that the app must be removed. If the device is not in compliance by a specified time, the device can be blocked from accessing the server.
  • Ensure that all app deployments are made over SSL and that successful installations verified.
  • Track all application management updates, patches, fixes, and the like.  For individual liable devices, you want to make sure you have visibility into those devices, what apps are installed, that your data is protected, etc.

Educate Your Employees – Establishing a mobile policy is critical, but what good is it if your employees aren’t getting the message? On a regular basis, IT should communicate key provisions in the company’s corporate policy for mobile devices, whether supplied by the organization or owned by the employee.

The Fantasy Football season is upon us and it’s important for enterprises to remember that device and cost management go hand in hand. Mobile device management solutions will be critical for monitoring devices with security in mind, tracking employee usage among an increasingly growing group of mobile workers, and taking appropriate action when these rules are broken.

How do you settle the score this Fantasy Football season? Remind your employees that they should only be using their devices for tasks that relate to business…and this business doesn’t include managing line-ups, making trades, or watching the games!