Remember the good ‘ol days — back in 1998, say — when companies issued pagers to their employees in the field so they could summon them in an emergency? It was a clean and simple.
But with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 — and the iPad a few years later – the technology landscape changed dramatically. Today, employees — especially those who work outside the office – are equipped with a dizzying array of devices to keep them connected to supervisors, colleagues, and clients. They’re getting work done remotely from home offices, corner coffee shops, airports, and hotel rooms.
The era of IT departments mandating specific hardware, operating systems, or technologies is quickly disappearing, In its place a new culture is growing where employees are given more autonomy — and responsibility — for selecting their own technology.
You’re probably familiar with the term BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer/Bottle) when it comes to parties, right? Well, a new acronym has emerged in recent years as one of the hottest buzzwords in technology: BYOD, or “bring your own device.” It can have enormous implications for the way companies do business.
Let’s take a closer look at the BYOD trend, what it means for your business, and how you can maximize its effectiveness.
What is BYOD?
Simply, a company that embraces a BYOD policy allows employees to use their own devices – laptops, smartphones, and tablets, for example – in their work environment. Users are free to use gadgets of their own choosing, limited only by whatever BYOD policies are put in place.
Here are some of the significant findings about BYOD, according to the Microsoft Security Blog:
- 53% of organizations officially condone BYOD in some way, but less than half of them provide any financial subsidy for users who supply their own equipment.
- 22% of organizations allow personal devices to be used, but require that they be managed by the company IT personnel.
- Cost savings resulting from employees using their own PCs and mobile devices may be offset by increased IT support and security costs.
- A majority of companies are somewhat or very concerned about the risk of data breaches or intellectual property leaks.
For organizations to embrace and implement BYOD, there has to be a compelling business case to support it and the rewards must outweigh the risks. Here are a few of them:
Benefits for Your Employees
Your employees will gladly embrace a BYOD policy, which means they get to use devices and applications that are more familiar to them. Being able to choose which hardware and platforms creates more satisfied and productive workers.
According to a recent iPass survey, employees who are allowed to use their own devices enjoy increased mobility, higher job satisfaction, and improvements in efficiency and productivity. This also relates to benefits for the organization – the survey of 1,100 mobile workers showed that “employees who use mobile devices for both work and personal issues put in 240 more hours per year than those who do not.”
Benefits for Your IT Investment
Because employees are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the devices they personally own, your Information Technology vendor will probably like BYOD for a number of reasons:
- simplified infrastructure to maintain
- reduction in ongoing end-user device management, troubleshooting and support
- time to focus on more strategic initiatives.
One downside: IT personnel have to be familiar with a broad range of devices in order to get them connected to company resources, or be able to provide any support at all. This is why all our technicians are well-versed in all mobile devices.
Benefits for Your Business
A progressive BYOD policy can help to attract and retain top performers, who seek flexibility in their work arrangements and often are willing to put in time outside of traditional work hours.
Another consideration: training time is reduced, and employees are more efficient and productive — benefits that can directly impact your bottom line.
For organizations that embrace BYOD, individual users (employees) tend to upgrade to the latest hardware, and migrate to the newest software platforms much more quickly than companies. The business gets to take advantage of cutting edge technology without the pain and expense of a massive hardware refresh or software upgrade.