Bring your own definition…along with your device.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is becoming one of the more important technology and business trends of out time as it enables employees to bring the devices they want to use into work to access enterprise resources and corporate information in order to get their job done.
Earlier this year, a joint ZDNet/TechRepublic study found more than 44% of organizations already allow BYOD and 18% plan to move to BYOD by End of Year 2013. Another study by Dell found that approximately 70% of companies believe BYOD can improve their work processes and help them work better in the future, while an estimated 59% believe they would be at a competitive disadvantage without BYOD.
Even if you don’t buy into the impressive numbers that ZDNet/TechRepublic and Dell surveys cite, look at your employees and their personal and business devices. Many source says that average user has three devices. Think about it, how many of your employees, contractors, and business partners own a smartphone, tablet (even multiple tablets), and a notebook PC? This doesn’t even have to be the devices that they bring to work everyday, walk around the average home these days and the number of mobile devices multiplies even further.
While those employee devices are out of your organization’s official purview, it’s safe to say that you see them in the office even if it’s tablet poking out of a purse or an employee texting on their personal smartphone while riding on the elevator up to the office.
What do you want BYOD to bring your organization?
As with any technology trend, technology vendors, pundits, analysts, consulting firms and others latch onto it for their own profits. There’s nothing wrong with that in a free market economy. However, an unforeseen after affect is that that the definition of BYOD has gotten polluted as well. While writing on BYOD topics for CNET TechRepublic and The Mobility Hub during this time, I came across no fewer than five definitions for BYOD during the course of vendor briefings and my normal article and post research. Such is to be expected when the marketing department gets involved.
This realization drove me to start recommending that organizations who want to make the move to BYOD define it for themselves. After all, in considering a BYOD initiative, you are trying to get your arms around BYOD to ensure that it can deliver your organization a competitive advantage and other benefits. Defining BYOD in the context of your organization is the first building block to a successful BYOD initiative. There are pundits and analysts out there saying oh the millenials are demanding it, your end users are demanding it, or everybody’s doing and your company should be as well.
However, when you break it down, BYOD is another business decision. Going to BYOD or bypassing it entirely can have a profound influence on how responsive your employees are to prospective and existing customers. There are also productivity implications because your employees will have access to documents and other corporate information across multiple devices from wherever they are working.
The answers to BYOD vary from organization to organization. Then again, BYOD may evolve in an organization overtime as the intermingling of personal devices, corporate information, and infrastructure intermingle.