Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a technology trend that has been floating around in management circles for the last couple of years. A lot of managers still either choose to ignore it or undermine its importance. BYOD is a policy where employees are permitted and encouraged to access work from their personal devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets etc.
Cloud-based software or SaaS continues to permeate enterprises across all industries, resulting in a blurry line between personal and company devices. The more apps are on the cloud, the more our devices simply become the hardware from which to access information residing on external hardware (servers). If that’s the case, then it doesn’t matter from which device you access the information. The more secure the cloud becomes, the less resistance to bringing in any type of device.
This is evident from the study by Tech Pro in November 2014, which found that 75 percent of companies permit or plan to permit BYOD at workplace. The BYOD adoption rate in the fastest emerging major economies (BRICS) is close to 75 percent, and it’s continuing to increase in developed countries.
These numbers hint that BYOD is not just a productive trend but also inevitable. I believe that it is the way forward. Here are 5 ways BYOD can increase your organization’s productivity:
- Key to Work-Life Integration
Millennials seek value in work and don’t consider it as separate from life. The ability to access company information and applications from personal devices allows employees to work with greater comfort. It gives them flexibility, which is the key to work-life integration. This integration is also being witnessed in the applications that we use. Weather, social media, and productivity apps are being used interchangeably for both personal and professional purposes.
- A Step Toward Co-Entrepreneurship
One of the most grueling challenges for even the biggest organizations is creating a culture where employees have a personal affinity towards the company’s objectives. Removing the distinction between company devices and personal devices affects the psyche of employees. This makes work more personal and provides a sense of ownership to employees. They have control over their destinies and are empowered to steer the company in the right direction.
- Attracting and Retaining Creative Talent
Most enterprises have teams that consist of creative individuals. For these individuals, personal devices are like tools for an artist. The choice of devices one chooses to buy affects the way they are perceived. Allowing people to make such choices gives them a greater sense of empowerment. It’s normal for these individuals to get their creative juices flowing at odd hours. The ability to access work from personal devices helps them to make the most of this burst of productivity. Whether it’s your personal or professional life, achieving seamless integration of information assists us in being productive. The ability to do this on one device dramatically increases convenience.
- Emergence of Wearable Technology
Smartphones and other mobile devices are not just hardware to serve a specific purpose but they are an extension of an individual’s personality. As I mentioned before, the device chosen and used by an individual affects the way people perceive them. If the smartphones weren’t enough, technology is going to get even more personal with devices like Apple Watch. It is highly unlikely that people will wear two watches – one for personal and one for professional uses. Like it or not, employees will bring their watch to work. Any resistance from organizations might be seen as invasion of the individual’s personal space. It would also indicate a lack of trust from the company – and trust is very important for collaboration. If people are over policed, they will become less creative and find ways to break the rules.
- Reduction in Operating Expenses
BYOD can reduce operating expenses and also decrease the cost of investment from the company. People can bring their own devices, and can access company apps through the cloud. The decrease in the cost of devices has made them affordable. It has become easier for employees to be much more interconnected within the company and the rest of the world. Delivery of software updates is far more effective through the cloud, resulting in frequent software updates and less dependency on the IT team. The overall reduction in the cost of setting up new businesses will encourage startup culture.
Security: Critical Concern or a Short Term Misconception?
According to Tech Pro's research, of all the respondents who ruled out BYOD, 78 percent listed security as their biggest concern. This is supported by the fact that BYOD adoption rate is highest in Education/IT industries and lowest in Government agencies. Some companies are hesitant to allow access to work on personal devices because they feel that their data will not be secure on cloud applications.
This might have been a genuine concern when the cloud technology was in its days of infancy. However, the pace at which SaaS has evolved in recent years has been extraordinary. Modern-day SaaS applications are as secure as any other alternative.
BYOD has a direct correlation to adoption of SaaS. As more companies open up to using Saas to get work done, use of personal devices at work would gain more traction. BYOD is here, and it is here to stay.