By Matthew Nuckley, Consultant in Industry Transformation Services and Mobility SME for UK&I
“What are we going to do about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Consumerization of IT?”. It’s a question that I hear from a lot of senior business leaders. It’s a question that is posed in a lot of industry white papers. BYOD and Consumerization of IT are hot topics at the moment. The reason that there isn’t a ready answer is that it’s a ‘how long is a piece of string’ type question. Depending on a lot of different factors, a lot of different answers could be right for your company. Bryan Coapstick started our Knowledge Matters discussion about this on his blog: Cross Platform Mobile Apps Development – ‘One size fits all’ does not fit.
Summarizing the key benefits for BYOD:
To the company: Reduced capital expense (as the device is procured and maintained by the employee) and increased productivity as that personal phone is attached to the employee 24x7 - he/she can check emails and respond after playing Angry Birds.
To the employee: Increased personalization via the ability to choose a brand /form factor of phone that suits the individual, improved work life balance, increased efficiency and effectiveness (an employee can do more and get ahead) and (at the moment) perceived ‘cool factor’ too. As an example, recently a colleague of mine was locked out of the house for 4 hours. Using his phone with email and calendar access, he was able to participate in 2 conference calls, present using a virtual room, respond to all his emails (viewing attachments and editing items) and work on a client RFP. In the end, the impact of being locked out of the house was a sheepish anecdote during one of the calls and the beginnings of a cold (being summer in England!), rather than 4 hours of frustration and broken promises.
I think the reason that BYOD is becoming a critical issue for enterprises, is the fact that a lot of companies are feeling pressure to develop mobile applications on all platforms. Companies want to reach all their customers, without having to pay for 4 or 5 native development teams and back-end architectures.
Creating a cost-effective cross channel /platform development environment reduces the need to provide all employees with a single type of smartphone. Considering the rate of change, a company- provided device doesn’t remain cutting edge for long (If ever). BYOD can be a way for the corporation to save money as well as a good way to improve the productivity of employees. Allowing secure access to company information and processes, remotely, at anytime, from the platform and form factor that an individual finds best encourages increased employee productivity.
What’s the hold up for progress?
One barrier to taking action is the concern for security. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution can address some if not most concerns. A good summary of the current MDM marketplace can be found in this Gartner report. (Note: even in the magic quadrant there can be some drawbacks. For example, one product in the report has a lack of task automation that can make long term management more costly than some of the other solutions.) HP is implementing and managing most of the leading products and we have had a lot of success recently. Since HP offers competitive service levels, it is in HP’s and our customer’s interest to select the best solution for everyone.
A Mobile Application Management (MAM) solution could be a better fit for employees. We plan to further explore both MDM and MAM in future posts.
An alternative to bring your own device is to give budget to the employee so that they can then select a device from a limited list of tablets, smartphones, laptops etc. With this approach, a company can create a controlled freedom, rather than total anarchy for full BYOD.
A final word: Anyone considering BYOD should have an answer prepared on several different topics because B2E (employee facing) apps bring a range of issues that are not encountered with B2C (Customer facing) applications. To give an impression of the multidisciplinary complexity involved, I have prepared an incomplete list of topics:
Productivity, human resources, legal, financial compensation and fiscal consequences, governance and management, deployment, security, privacy, device diversity (and possible imposed limitations), helpdesk and self-help, backend connectivity, collaboration, BYOD vs. Corporate-supplied devices, right device for the right groups of employees, virtualizing the desktop, full mobile to desktop integration and synchronization, telecommunication cost, roaming, private vs enterprise use, device wiping, “lost /stolen /broken”, context awareness and the use of it, licensing, setting meaningful KPIs, and more
This is our fifth blog as part of the Knowledge Matters program for mobility. You can check out some of our earlier posts at Mobile Madness. What is my strategy? and Controlling the costs of mobility – it’s all about value! . We’re covering key mobile topics such as mobile apps strategy, cross platform development, controlling costs, digital government, mobile device management, mobile cloud, and other key topics designed to help you be successful in the mobile enterprise market.
What’s your BYOD strategy? I’d love to hear from you.