The Balancing Act of Bring Your Own Device: Growing Your Enterprise Productivity
Bring your own device (BYOD) has been an evolving trend ever since the popularity of smartphones. While on the consumer side, adoption of mobile apps has been unprecedented, enterprises still have a relatively low adoption of mobile apps beyond email, messaging and some specialized vertical workflows. This article discusses the state of the BYOD market, the current realities of the enterprise user demands, new innovation in the market, and how CIOs need to adapt their BYOD strategy.
There are vastly different views in the Analyst community and Trade magazines around the adoption and trends of BYOD in the enterprise. According to Gartner, by 2018 95 percent of global enterprises will have both a CYOD (Choose your own device) and a formal BYOD plan in place, while according to Computerworld the bring your own device “fad” is fading, claiming more than half of the 375 companies it surveyed do not allow BYOD. Upon my review, the reality appears to be somewhere in the middle.
What Happens in the Real World
The desire for business users and employees to access information from any device, especially if that data is needed urgently is simply unstoppable. Consider two real world scenarios that occur often. When physicians in a hospital need to communicate with a specialist for advice, they click a picture of the patient (using their personal phone) and send it for review. Additionally, if they need to contact a radiologist to quickly get a patient’s x-rays, they text the radiologist to achieve fast turnaround. This communication needs to be HIPPA compliant (which may or may not be always observed in reality). Companies like Imprivata and TigerText provide solutions for secure texting on personal and corporate owned devices. Likewise, when VPs of Sales need access to the latest sales information on the road, and their corporate owned device is not available, they access that on their personal phone using email or a mobile app (such as Office for Mobile).
Expanding BYOD would enable enterprises to focus on creating new mobile workflows for business growth and innovation, while making Employees way more productive
So the net is that users will continue to pressure IT to enable access to information on Mobile devices, including their personal devices. My view is that IT needs to have a multiple use-case approach and support a mix of Corporate owned and Bring Your Own Device (and its variations like CYOD). I offer some key recommendations to create that balance, while simplifying management.
Recommendations for CIO’s
There is a lot of discussion in the CIO community around the pros and cons of security policies, corporate liability, personal data and privacy, device selection, stipend and other allowance models. Those are all valid areas to review and address, and there is a lot of literature addressing those areas. I would like to offer an extended view point based on a large number of Enterprise mobility programs and mobile devices we manage.
BYOD Will Continue to Grow for the Right Use-cases
This includes users that don’t need devices for special mobile workflows, users who don’t travel extensively, users who don’t have business critical mobility use, and contingent workers, to include a few.
Mobile Application Usage and User Experience
Adoption of Mobile applications in the Enterprise is dismal. Instead of getting caught up in the discussion of BYOD versus CYOD versus CO and multiple other flavors, business and IT need to first grow their mobile apps footprint, and improve the user-experience. Part of the issue is that CIOs get stuck in the challenge of large enterprise system vendors providing mobile applications on paper, but lot of those apps having poor user experience. With the fast trend of moving to SaaS based Enterprise IT systems for HR, ERP, CRM and other core functions, CIOs need to look at Mobile usage as a key criteria for IT system selection. Many third party mobile services integrate with existing traditional ERP and CRM systems. CIOs should consider adopting agile off-the-shelf mobile applications, and only where needed, build minimal (and most important) function mobile access applications.
Data Contained With the Application
Mobile applications that contain their own data within the application, as opposed to storing data on the personal device, lessen data security challenges and the risk of a data leak.
Specialized use-case devices, like hardened devices for Inventory tracking, inspection devices on shop floors, etc., will almost always be corporate owned. However, I have recently seen a desire to replace those specialized devices with Standard iOS and Android devices paired with hardened Accessories. Retail Point of sale devices are fast becoming standard iPad based devices, which results in better service, easier management and lower total cost of ownership. This trend will continue. The innovation in this area is around full lifecycle service models, where vendors are providing opex based pricing models for managing the deployment, support and refresh of the devices.
IoT and wearables will positively influence the usage of personal devices. One such example is the NYMI band, which is a wearable device that can be used to securely authenticate to devices and/or applications on those devices. There is bound to be a lot of innovation in this space, as enterprises need to innovate and grow, and information access across multiple device ownership scenarios (while managing security) is key for creating efficient workflows.
Adopting these ideas would make Employees way more productive and the business more agile and cost effective. Expanding BYOD would enable enterprises to focus on creating new mobile workflows for business growth and innovation. IT needs to continue to leverage new innovation to provide sensible control over enterprise data and content, and provide Corporate owned devices for the right use cases.