Business mobility is a wide term that covers a large range of questions starting from interactions with clients to arranging employees’ remote work. In this article, we will consider such aspect of corporate mobility as implementing a BYOD policy (Bring Your Own Device) in terms of increasing enterprise operational efficiency. Many companies have already adopted BYOD which assumes that employees use their own devices and technology solutions at their workplace. However, the attitude to this issue varies. Let’s consider the main errors and misconceptions related to BYOD.
Main opponents of the BYOD trend:
1. Usage of employees’ personal devices decreases work efficiency.
This misconception is based on the following factor: having personal devices at the workplace employees are often busy with their private matters. In fact this problem derives mostly from organization and process management within a company. According to the Dell research conducted among the companies that have already been applying a BYOD policy, employees’ productivity and effectiveness have grown on average by 31%, employees’ flexibility and mobility have increased by 34%, the decision-making process has improved by 27%, and communication between employees – by 28%.1
2. It is hard to provide information security when implementing a BYOD policy.
Using personal devices poses a number of risks to corporate security and can lead to technical problems related to data theft and data loss when storing and transferring data as well as implementation of malware that blocks the IT infrastructure. According to Gartner, most problems related to security and functioning of devices and IT solutions are associated with the fact that 90% of companies apply various third-party apps within their corporate mobility strategy. By 2017, Gartner predicts that 75% of security breaches will be the result of software misconfiguration.2 To solve these problems, a MDM (Mobile Device Management) system should be adopted. The aim of this system is to ensure security of company devices as well as their correct operation and ease of use. This system offers three main blocks of functions: security management, software management, and hardware management.
3. It requires high costs to implement a BYOD policy.
Managers can expect a considerable increase of costs due to organization of IT support for personal mobile devices used for corporate purposes. These costs can also increase as the result of adaptation of apps used for functioning on external resources and integration of these devices into company internal resources. However, according to Gartner3, a company can save up to 64% when adopting a BYOD policy (with no indirect costs related to the purchase of devices). Moreover, even in case when a company compensates the cost of devices that employees buy for their personal use but are going to use at their workplaces, cost savings can reach 9%.
Active supporters of BYOD implementation
1. The use of employees` personal devices doesn’t require special control.
It is obvious that no one will directly agree with this statement. However, in many companies there is no system approach to the use of personal devices by employees. It is important to understand that in addition to safety provision, it is also required to arrange employees` BYOD model training at work, implement a clear policy and practices of this model use. A BYOD policy has to regulate requirements to devices and software, information about IT support and user responsibilities, a security policy, user roles and data storage levels, actions taken in case of unforeseen circumstances (mobile devices can be lost, and employees may leave a company with their personal devices). Unfortunately, the question of employees` training is considered less significant in the world. According to the Sitrion research4, only 11.4% of respondents focused on this important issue in terms of BYOD implementation whereas employees` performance is a fundamental factor to increase the company RoI.
2. All processes can be transferred to BYOD in a directive way.
When companies decide to become “mobile” but have no background for that, there can arise a whole set of problems. It is not only the problems related to readiness of an infrastructure, safety, and employees` training. A fast transition to BYOD leads to a situation when apps which ran on a desktop yesterday have to function on mobile devices already today, in other words, most likely they won`t be user-friendly or work correctly, etc. Thus, the shift to BYOD won’t happen just because none of employees will have any desire to use services. The Compuware study5 shows that only 16% of users will retry a failing app for the third time after two bad tries. In terms of companies, it means that employees will continue to use third-party apps at their own discretion, i.e. the advantage of the BYOD concept implementation will tend to zero.
3. Lack of a clear BYOD strategy.
Based on the above, any company that aims to implement corporate mobility needs to have its own BYOD strategy. Major steps in developing such strategy are as follows. Firstly, it is necessary to set up a team that ensures functioning of various processes in the company (management, IT, HR, safety) and that will be able to determine which processes require mobility. Secondly, it is necessary to create a list of potential technologies, apps and devices which will be used for mobilization. Thirdly, it is required to develop BYOD policy and practices that should be followed when implementation and support processes are performed. And at last, it is necessary to start with pilot implementation within a small group or separate process to evaluate convenience and efficiency of the program. After feedback, it will be possible to pass to large-scale implementation of BYOD in the company.