Today we’re exploring the phenomenon of BYOD and the future of enterprise mobility for IT managers. Gartner predicts that by 2017 over 40% of enterprise contact information will have diffused into Facebook. This will occur as a direct result of employees increased use of mobile device collaboration applications. Today we explore BYOD and why its important from an IT manager’s perspective.
What is BYOD?
One of the IT mans biggest challenges is keeping up with the rapid pace of technological change. The bigger your company and the more employees you have, the harder it is to keep up. BYOD stands for ‘bring your own device’ and represents employees desire to use their own personal mobile devices to access corporate data. Other strands of this include BYOT (bring your own technology), BYOP (bring your own phone) and BYOPC (bring your own PC). Some refer to this technological shift as the consumerisation of IT.
Why should companies embrace BYOD?
Part of this ongoing consumerisation is enabling staff to bring their own mobile devices to work. This means any employee can bring in the latest iPhone 5S or a Samsung Galaxy S4 and access company email, calendars and shared document drives. But what is the point of this for SME’s? Simply put, BYOD and the act of empowering employees to use their own technology is designed to increase productivity and overall efficiency. It can also be used to drive down IT costs. These benefits provide a compelling case for SME’s to rapidly embrace the BYOD revolution.
The dark side of BYOD
It sounds fantastic in theory. Greater employee productivity. Employees become empowered, autonomous and able to develop increasingly efficient work processes. The IT department can cut costs. But what’s the snag? Well unfortunately BYOD does have a darker side and can pose risks to SME’s. BYOD is a new phenomenon and not fully understood by even the most innovative and forward thinking IT departments. Another challenge is the fact that there is no precedent for regulating BYOD. Perhaps the biggest barrier for IT departments to overcome is the potential threat to security, potentially putting sensitive information and systems at risk.
What’s driving BYOD?
BYOD is fundamentally about making IT departments more efficient. It takes advantage of the fact that most employees for SME’s now own at least one mobile device; either a tablet, netbook or smartphone. What’s actually ironic, is the fact that these devices are more technologically advanced than the hardware within most IT departments. The rapid rise and proliferation of mobile consumption, especially tablets and large screen smartphones, are helping to change the way people consume media and perform tasks at work. Most IT departments are catching up with the pace of technological change and the temptation is to simply dismiss BYOD and rely on traditional practices. Deploying trusted, old school hardware and software applications gives SME’s complete control which makes change difficult.
The future of BYOD
Many analysts will suggest that the BYOD wheels are well and truly in motion and there’s little IT departments can do to stop it. The key, as Richard Absolom suggests is to embrace it, “Trying to stand in the path of consumerised mobility is likely to be a damaging and futile exercise.” If you’re an IT manager trying to wrap your head around the BYOD phenomenon, the best thing to do is embrace change and be aware of the benefits and risks. Tomorrow’s blog will analyse in detail the pro’s and con’s of BYOD enterprise mobility adoption and how to plan a comprehensive BYOD strategy.