Managing BYOD expectations – it’s not impossible

Managing BYOD within the business is simpler than it may seem. The answer lies in collaboration.

Bring Your Own Device. A decade ago this term would have seemed completely foreign to the average IT technician, system administrator or CIO. It is the advent of ubiquitously connected smart devices, arguably sparked by the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and later the Android mobile operating system that has driven the workforce to demand the use of their preferred technologies within the corporate environment.

This is a trend that, instead of dissipating like many before it, is beginning to gain increasing traction – particularly in developing markets where smartphones, tablets and new age laptops are finding eager adopters in the millions. According to research firm Gartner, the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is the single most radical shift in the economics of client computing for business since PCs invaded the workplace.

It makes sense. Using a mobile phone or laptop that is familiar and comfortable can lead to improved productivity. Nearly two-thirds of employees currently use personal devices for work purposes, according to the Corporate Executive Board, while more than 80 percent of working adults in the United States work seven extra hours per week outside the office.

Restrictive devices or software limits potential. Modern knowledge workers simply expect access to the platforms of their choosing. Do prescribe otherwise is a surefire way to encourage dissatisfaction and poor staff retention in the long term.

For all the positives associated with BYOD efforts, there are other considerations to be taken into account. Is it possible to centrally manage thousands of dissimilar devices each with their own software instances and service packs? How can BYOD friendly applications fall in line with broader organisational strategies?

These are the questions most commonly asked by those responsible for guiding maintaining corporate IT systems. BYOD, at its most fundamental level, is at odds with traditionally risk averse technical strategies. Compatibility between the two can often appear difficult, if not impossible to achieve.

This is where a collaborative approach comes into play. By introducing unified collaboration architecture it is possible to empower employees while centrally managing and overseeing the platforms and systems they use to work together and communicate.

Furthermore, these offerings provide employees with a seamless experience across all devices and applications – negating the need for multiple systems or offerings. By giving workers access to a unified and common platform it is not only possible to encourage uptake, but also to improve productivity by providing more opportunities to collaborate.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly for those who are more technically inclined, a collaborative approach improves organisational security while lowering IT capital costs. Maintaining a single overview of communication systems despite multiple device usage reduces the risk of loss of control.

In many ways, collaboration is the best option when seeking out an efficient and price friendly approach to managing BYOD expectations within the business. The expectation is here to stay – how are you responding to it?

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Managing BYOD expectations – it’s not impossible