January 18, 2015
The idea behind creating and implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) policy seems fairly straightforward at first; all companies need to do is permit employees to use their own device for work purposes. The simplicity behind it has lead many businesses to adopting BYOD in greater numbers with each passing year. Research from Gartner shows that by 2017, employees from half of all organizations will have to bring their own devices into the office. The same research also shows that an impressive 90 percent of companies will have some form of BYOD by that same year. BYOD is coming and there seems to be little that can stop it, at least at first glance. For all the supposed simplicity surrounding it, companies can still encounter a number of serious pitfalls that threaten to derail BYOD programs and eliminate the benefits that come wih them. Often, these unsuccessful attempts have a root problem — a lack of effective strategy when it comes to reaching a primary goal for adopting BYOD.
Creating a successful BYOD implementation strategy requires actually having a goal to start with, something that many organizations neglect to do. While it’s true that BYOD has many benefits, some of those benefits are mutually exclusive. It all comes down to how the business makes BYOD a reality for their organization, and without a firm goal in mind, the business may wander with no clear direction. When this happens, the chances of failing to properly adopt BYOD greatly increase. So having a main reason — a primary goal — for using BYOD is an essential strategic step. That primary goal can come in many forms. Perhaps the goal is to increase overall employee productivity by enabling a mobile workforce. Or maybe the main reason to use BYOD is to bring down costs. Or maybe the company wants its employees to be more satisfied. Defining that goal will affect the ensuing steps the company takes in fully realizing BYOD. In other words, organizations need to go beyond the little details over what is BYOD and focus on the larger picture.
Reducing operational costs is often one of the main reasons a business will adopt BYOD. For years, this was seen through an abstract lens, where companies surmised that if they aren’t spending money on new gadgets for their employees, that is equivalent to saving on the cost. Over the years, this was a difficult statistic to track. Only recently have more concrete figures come to light, and they are encouraging. According to Gartner, IT departments that have adopted bring your own device programs are able to support up to three times the number of users when compared to those companies that provide the devices for their employees. Most of those savings come from the up-front cost, so if cost reduction is the company’s goal, it will need to strategize to what extent it will subsidize employee data plans, if at all. This can be done through monthly stipends or reimbursements, but businesses should know that those are ongoing costs.
Having more productive employees is another worthy goal that will affect BYOD implementation strategy. Companies that wish to pursue this primary goal will have to place a greater focus on expanding access to mobile applications. Emphasizing BYOD’s usefulness for workers who are often on the road is another way to see an increase in overall productivity. Expanding the number of available apps that employees can use on their devices is one thing all organizations will need to look into, but this requires an expansion in infrastructure investments, preferably with mobile device management software and more access to file sharing programs. A focus on mobile productivity also requires special attention for improving security, especially since workers will likely not be connected to the company’s secure Wi-Fi network.
Whatever goal is chosen, companies must always be prepared to make the business case for BYOD. Companies also need to thoroughly assess the risks that come from implementing a BYOD policy. With these factors in mind, the transition into a BYOD workforce can go smoothly because companies will have formulated the right strategy. It will only be a matter of time before organizations are reaching their primary goal and reaping the benefits.
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