BYOD, four little letters almost every IT professional shudders at the sound of.
Not too long ago, IT planned the course as to what type of devices employees at respected businesses would utilize in the workplace. This was an ideal scenario for IT at the time as a great deal of planning was put forth to manage IT deployed units. Should an issue arise, IT would be more than prepared to address it. The one caveat with this scenario however, was that IT would dictate what the employees at an organization required instead of adhering to the needs of their colleagues. This disconnect would be the catalyst of employee friction between IT and other departments (Sales, Finance, HR, etc).
Enter the company executives into this scenario. BYOD in essence began when executives started bringing new, non-IT approved, consumer devices, into office and demanded that IT connect said device as in their minds their new shiny toy would be the pinnacle on innovation and productivity within their organization. Many IT shops knew this ask was no more than a "bragging rights" endeavor to allow the executive in question to show off to their colleagues and peers. Unfortunately during these times, IT professionals did not have the capability to challenge the executive and would have to relegate to creating a piece meal solution to abide by the executives ask. The beginning stages of BYOD were one of the biggest challenges IT faced as at that time as saying "no" could cost someone their job and saying "yes" could also cause someone in IT their job should the device go lost, stolen or worse.
Today, the acronym BYOD is tossed around more times than a baseball at a ball game. Smartphone adoption is at an all time high across the globe and the ask to connect these devices are no longer just desired by executives. Everyone now wants in on the action. While showing off the latest and greatest toy is still a top priority for some, for most its attempting to balance work and personal life that in now leading the charge of BYOD. People want to rid themselves of as much clutter within their lives to be able to have time with people and things they deem matters to them most. Prior to BYOD, and for some still holds true today, people used to carry to smart devices. While this made carriers quite happy, people did not enjoy the experience to carry two devices as it provided too much clutter in their life. BYOD has been embraced by these people as it allows them to use one device and maximize its capability to complete tasks for work and personal life. Thankfully IT support is getting better for IT to help support this change being brought on by the masses. While their are a slew of solutions made available in today's market that will do everything imaginable and unimaginable to a multitude of smart devices, I think it best that we start with the basics.
Although times have changed and BYOD is now slowly becoming the norm, proper planning by any IT department is still key to the success of successfully deploying said solution. Items to take into consideration when considering a BYOD implementation include:
- Identifying your organizations BYOD scenarios - Namely, what department and/or personnel require what type of access to what data? What applications can be utilized to access said data? Not all types of access has to be created equal. Limitations around certain device specifications, OS offerings, applications and/or limitations around accessing specific data must be planned for to have a successful BYOD deployment.
- Identifying IT sanctioned device/OS/application choices - As mentioned in the point above, not all devices contain the same specifications, not all applications safely complete the same task and not all OS offerings provide the same capabilities. So why should all devices/OS offerings/applications gain the same access. Planning on providing choice to supported employees still allows for their empowerment of device/OS/application choice, but also educates them as to what device amidst that choice will provide the most favorable outcome to stay connected at work.
- Identifying a simplified BYOD on-boarding, support and reporting solution - An IT professionals time usually always stretched to adhere to a barrage of challenges set for within a typical day at any organization. Embracing BYOD should not be a add-on to said tasks, but ideally a self-serviced solution with minimal IT intervention. If planned properly, reporting should give you all the insight to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to support thus allow your organization to avert fires instead of putting them out.
- Gain business leader or executive buy-in on usage policies - In business, when someone is pitching a new idea or direction, they always look for executive buy-in or sponsorship to push the idea forward. Including business leadership into usage policy creation and adoption ensures all aspects of the organization have agreed to the terms of utilization in regards to BYOD and have agreed to jointly enforce it. This especially comes in handy when other executives go against policy and require the executives that have bought in to enforce.
BYOD provides great potential to one's organization when planned for. Future posts regarding BYOD on CANITPRO.NET will showcase how Microsoft provides resources to help IT professionals plan accordingly and tools to enable people to utilize their smartphone of choice effectively in one's organization. As always we welcome any suggestions or ideas to further this discussion and look forward to collaborating on ideas in planning for and embracing BYOD.