BYOD may be one of the big technology trends out there for businesses, but not every business wants or needs a BYOD program. BYOD is, of course, not a magic bullet for addressing every company’s mobile needs. It also isn’t guaranteed to deliver cost savings compared to providing employees with corporate owned and managed devices.
Companies not pursuing BYOD can still gain value from investing in some of the technology concepts and solutions that becoming a standard part of BYOD programs. After all, BYOD is one of the biggest trends of consumerized IT, but it is only one trend out of many.
Here are five key BYOD lessons that any business or organization can apply even without implementing a BYOD program.
- Enterprise app stores – Apple revolutionized app delivery when it created the App Store four years ago. The model changed how people thought about browsing, buying, and installing software. It’s always an option for IT departments to create a collection of apps and load them onto a mobile device or computer, but many users may not need every app and some users may prefer one app over another. An enterprise app store lets companies deliver a selection of apps from public app stores as well as internal-only solutions. Letting users pick and choose from that selection (or suggest other apps) can increase user satisfaction and reduce costs (the organization is paying for only the apps actually being used).
- Personally enabled iPhones and iPads (or other devices) – One of the advantages employees see in BYOD options is that, because they own their iPhone or iPad, they’re free to check social networks, install and play games, make personal calls, take family photos, and generally do whatever they want beyond using the device for work. An alternative to BYOD is the COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) model. In this model, the company owns the device, pays or shares the cost of service, and configures key security and management options. Employees, however, still have free access to most of the device’s features and are free to use it as their personal iPhone or iPad. The effect is similar to BYOD except that the company still owns the device and is therefore responsible for security, management, and legal factors around it.
- A range of device and platform options – In the days before the iPhone, most employees who were given corporate devices had little or no say in the device that they were given. BYOD is the complete opposite of that approach – users choose whatever device they want (albeit within some guidelines). Offering users a choice of technologies gives them the ability to select what they see as the best options for their professional needs as well as their personal tastes. That delivers the potential for employee satisfaction and increased productivity associated with BYOD while keeping the range of different devices and mobile OS versions within certain limits that ensure security and functionality.
- Technology self servicing – Technical support can often be an issue when it comes to BYOD programs because IT staff may not be familiar with every device that comes through the door and because some problems (billing issues, physical damage, third-party app issues) may be unrelated to work. As a result, self-support is a common thread in the BYOD narrative. That self-support model can work well with employer-owned technology as well, particularly for remote workers. There are a number of ways to approach self-support and self-servicing, and Apple provides in an excellent white paper (PDF link) that covers them.
- Policy updates – BYOD may be a game changer for businesses, but it isn’t the only one. The consumerization of IT involves a lot of other game changing factors: personal cloud services (including iCloud), mobile devices, apps (desktop and mobile), and working from remote locations. As a result, even outside of BYOD, it’s important that IT leaders take the initiative to review technology policies related to security, acceptable use, and other core topics.