Whether IT departments are ready or not, employees are ushering in the era of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device to Work) and its compatriot, BYO-App (Bring Your Own Application). Although 83 percent of businesses say they’ve entered the world of BYOD [Aberdeen Research, July 2012], it’s increasingly clear that most businesses don’t have a handle on how to manage or streamline BYOD—yet. The pluses -- mobility helps drive innovation across a number of business processes and it enhances an employee’s ability to engage with customers and be more productive.
BYOD also has the potential to reduce costs if employees are willing to pay for all, or a portion, of the cost to use a device of their choosing rather than be issued a “free” device they’d rather not use or that they don’t use as their primary device. The minuses -- the proliferation of mobile devices, platforms, operating systems and applications has overwhelmed IT departments. From encryption and antivirus protection to re-compiling mobile apps to sync with company-specific APIs and various legacy infrastructures, IT departments are being asked to do a lot more than they were when they were issuing and supporting company-owned BlackBerries. The opportunity -- for IT professionals and enterprises to keep up with BYOD, they need tools; tools that help companies manage costs, applications, interoperability and security relating to mobility. That need has spawned new lines of business: mobile device management [MDM] and mobile application management [MAM].
Forrester predicted in August 2011 that the “mobile management services market” would reach $6.6 billion by 2015. There is also the less talked about human resource component of BYOD—especially when it comes to younger workers. To attract and retain the best and the brightest, companies will have to balance employee choice and internal policies. In early 2012, two-thirds of 20-somethings interviewed by research firm Vision Critical responded, “they, not the company, should be responsible for the security of devices used for work purposes.” Young workers expect to use their personal devices for work, but have no desire to hand over responsibility for the security of those devices to an IT department.
Additionally, a third of them said they’d break anti-BYOD rules and "contravene a company's security policy that forbids them to use their personal devices at work or for work purposes."
So BYOD and start talking to your clients about how you can help them navigate this emerging trend and turn it into the opportunity for improved results through increased productivity of nomadic employees, reduced device costs by allowing employees free choice, and higher employee satisfaction.