Still causing qualms but apparently unstoppable, ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) is slowly but surely becoming part of company practice. However there are some key steps that should not be skipped.
About three months ago, Kaseya, a Lausanne-based management information software provider, revealed that more than a quarter of all IT organisations reckoned that employees using their own devices at work represented one of the most serious threats to the company. However, another recent report, this time carried out by Forrester Research, pointed out that 60% of companies encourage this practice. So it was on the basis of these two contradictory findings that Forrester came up with the idea of publishing a manual for companies to give them some guidelines for ensuring a smooth transition to BYOD. The watchword here is the creation of a ‘stateless’ IT infrastructure system. And the first step according to Forrester is to design a consistent, future-proof mobile strategy.
Four steps to BYOD
The manual encourages companies to make mobility central to their IT development strategy for the coming five years. Doing this means that they would no longer have to adapt BYOD on a case-by-case basis. On the contrary they should make it standard throughout the company. The ideal approach would be to create test applications for employees so that they can learn how to work with BYOD using these applications – e.g. use of bandwidth and data protection. The second step is to progressively externalise the applications. Forrester suggests that companies offer their staff a platform for distributing and managing applications in the form of a company app store such as Apperian or AppCentral. The third step is that the company should move its mobile device management strategy towards a strategy of assessing devices which might incur risk. Third parties, such as iovation or Silver Tail Systems can really help in this area. Finally the manual recommends that companies broaden their mobile strategy to other IT transformation initiatives, with the obvious cost savings in mind.
BYOD shows no sign of slowing down
This advice should be heeded, given the findings of previous Forrester studies. Some 91% of US consumers and 86% of their European counterparts now own at least one ‘connected’ device. These figures will are set to rise, with at least one American in three expected to own a tablet by 2015. Moreover, just over the 2007 to 2010 period, mobile operators have seen wireless data traffic rise by more than 5,000%, reports Forrester. This indicates that employee’s own communication devices are not simply a comfort item and that BOYD is more than just a way of increasing productivity. BYOD is now becoming a ‘must-have’for mobile users and a ‘must-integrate’for companies.