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10 ways to make BYOD more appealing to users

If your organization is keen on adopting a BYOD strategy but your users are less than enthusiastic about it, these measures may help get them on board.

There's a reason why businesses are adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): It makes sense. Not only do companies stand to save money with such a program, they also stand to gain a more efficient workforce. However, there might be one hurdle in the way -- reluctant end users. Not everyone will see the value in bringing their own hardware into the workplace or using it out in the wild for work endeavors.

If your company wants to make a concerted effort to bring end users into this program, but you're afraid you'll meet resistance, let me offer a few ideas to help you make BYOD more appealing to those hesitant end users.

1: More freedom

One of the biggest benefits of BYOD is the freedom offered to end users. These freedoms can come in many forms, such as allowing them time to use social networks. Because you're going to gain efficiencies in other ways, you can afford the time users will spend on social networking sites. You can still let them know that although it is being allowed, it will be monitored.

2: Longer work lunches

So long as employees are taking their devices to lunch, it makes sense to give them extended lunch periods. This, of course, assumes that they're actually working during this period. For the more efficient BYODers, you could start extending their lunch breaks gradually. Once others see the benefit, they will happily request to join the force. Of course, you have to make sure that employees are, in fact, getting their work completed. But do not go on the offensive. Act only if you see a dip in productivity.

3: Software incentives

More than likely, your company has access to software titles at lower prices than do your employees. Why not extend these prices to your employees as an added incentive for BYOD? Not only will this help empower your employees to produce better work, it will allow them to get software they might not have been able to afford otherwise.

4: End-of-year bonus

You've saved money by having your employees bring in their own devices. There is no reason why you can't pass on a fraction of those savings to participating BYODers. Consider this "bonus" to be a wear-and-tear payment. Most likely, it will be fairly small (in the grand scheme of things), but it will go a long way toward showing your BYOD employees your appreciation.

5: Hardware purchases through the company

Similar to the software incentive, you probably can allow your employees to purchase the hardware they will use in the BYOD program through your own channels. This could take the place of the end-of-year bonus, as it will allow the user to purchase hardware at a reduced price. It might also allow the users to purchase better hardware -- which can result in even more efficient work.

6: More telecommuting opportunities

Telecommuting is still an option, but you may not want to turn BYOD employees into straight-up telecommuters. Instead, offer BYOD employees the option to telecommute on certain days. This is an incentive that's sure to bring more users into the fold. Just make sure you aren't inundated with users wanting to take advantage of such an opportunity. Otherwise, you'll end up with an empty office. Be sure there is a set schedule for BYOD telecommuting.

7: Offer cloud storage

If your company has the resources, offer BYOD employees an internal cloud storage option. This solves a number of problems. It allows your employees easy access to the data they need to work with and enables them to store personal data in a safe cloud environment. Anyone can use Dropbox, SpiderOak, Ubuntu One (or any of the many cloud services). But if you can offer your employees onsite cloud storage for both work and personal data, you're a step ahead. Be very careful with this. Make sure every employee knows what data is allowed to be stored on the cloud and what is prohibited.

8: Phone compensation

For those BYODers using their personal smartphones for business, it makes sense to compensate their phone plan somewhat. This does not mean you have to pay their entire bill. In fact, you could either pay just a percentage of their voice or their data plan. This will help your employees understand how important the program is, as well as how much you value their participation.

9: Free (limited) support

You don't want to get your IT staff involved with supporting all employee-owned devices. You should make sure the level of support is limited (say, virus removal or networking support) to keep your IT staff from working on your network, servers, and desktop machines. But this will be a nice additional incentive, because your end users won't have to pay for third-party support.

10: More secure devices

Security is always a concern, BYOD or not. If you can offer your BYODers added security on their devices, they will (or should) jump at the opportunity. This not only benefits them, it benefits you. Having your company data out in the wild is a dangerous proposition -- especially if the devices holding the data aren't as secured as possible. When an end user brings in a device for BYOD, allow your IT staff to put their hands on it and add a company-accepted security setup.

Give and take

BYOD can benefit everyone involved. Yes, it may mean you have to bend some rules or even open up the purse strings just a fraction. But in the end, you'll be glad you did. Give these ideas some thought and see if they don't inspire your employees to be more accepting of BYOD.

More resources

For a comprehensive look at BYOD strategies, benefits, and challenges, check out ZDNet's latest feature page, BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

20 comments
DesolateProphet
DesolateProphet

Some of this depends on how it gets implemented. At onetime, we had the whole Blackberry thing going. It did not go to well for a lot of reason. I think a major reason was that our security group turned the device into a high tech brick. I didn't want one and kept my old flip phone - same level of functionality. This added security also made it a big pain in the rear to manage and support. Now we have jumped into the BYOD. The value gained here is that the person only needs to have one device. The compomise is a little security has been added. You need to keep in mind that these are all exempt employees. In many cases such as sales, they can be reimbursed or are provided an allowance for the device. On the support side, if they don't what to use their device, we will provide a phone, just not a smart phone. I still see a lot of resistance to the idea that the company will see something or want to montor, which is a fair concern. In the end the company comes out ahead.

philswift
philswift

It is the appeal to shareholders, IT and Finance directors that is important. BYOD is the most horrendous vogue and needs to be banned. It is a massive security threat to data retention including IP. It encourages slack practice and sloppy user work ethic. The only hardware, software and systems that should be allowed anywhere near a company building, network or devices are those that have passed rigid security checks, ruggedness checks and be on an ITIL helpdesk hardware approved list. There should be security guards on all entrances and exits removing and temporarily storing devices that are not identified as approved or company asset listed. Anyone that disagrees with me should just wait until their BYOD device messes up and they have to wait until the IT helpdesk can help them. While you wait with no way of communicating, try something called thinking for yourself'. It may be a novel notion but hey......give it a whilr. You never know....you might just like it :)

tychobot
tychobot

I can't really see why businesses would want to have BYOD at all. It adds a lot of additional demand on IT support, leads to slipping boundaries between personal and professional use of devices and is inherrently unsafe in a time where companies already need to be as carefull as they can (eg read the recent Mandiant report). I am willing to go with the increased productivity appeal but I'm not sure how to quantify it. Furthermore the proposed measures are at the least questionable and maybe a little naive (not intended to insult; i'm not a native english speaker). Take the extended lunchbreak case. In a real world scenario how would a company measure the increased productivity? How would employees who can't afford to buy the new and usually relatively expensive personal devices (having a very constraining mortgage and, say, 7 children) like the idea of working equally hard and not getting a raised end-of-year's bonus? I do like the softare and hardware mediation though. /my 2 cts

paulm
paulm

We're not missile scientists or DoD, but I wouldn't want any corporate data going onto a personal device. Losing that control makes device 'management' a mockery. I have centralised management on all workstations and smart phones in our company and can track, wipe, or lock in the time it takes to sneeze. I get full reports of software installed and uninstalled. I cannot see how you could 'manage' a network successfully without locking down somewhat - the staff aren't IT specialists so sometimes they need to be "mothered" ;)

DROCK#
DROCK#

There are plenty of vendors out there offering secure access solutions to corporate data without the need to manage the device. I understand accidents can happen and my example was definitely extreme but I do believe people tend to take more care of things when they own it and provides more than just access to work data. Anyway, this is just one reason BYOD could be a good thing. Unbelievable luck! Do all your shirt pockets now have a closing flap and button?

DROCK#
DROCK#

While I don't agree with all of Jack Wallen's initiatives I also don't agree that BYOD is a scam or hype. People working longer hours is a fact. People using technology more in every day life is a fact. Many people owning smart phones is a fact. If you can treat your employee with more maturity around how and when they work by giving them the freedom to blend their personal use of technology with their work requirements that cannot be a bad thing. I agree that if you are required to receive emails or phone calls while out of the office your employee should provide a phone contract and a phone. But what is wrong with giving the user the ability to bring a phone of their own? It's an asset you don't need to manage. Help desk aren't hassled with hardware issues or "my new collegue got a brand new blackberry, why do I have to keep using this 6 month old one!?" or even worse "whoops!, Dropped my phone and stepped on it repeatedly accidently. I'll need a brand new one". Yes you can create policy's where user has to pay for replacement but ultimately it's your hardware and you need to get them back up and running asap. If it's their personal device, these things don't tend to happen. In the case of BYO laptop, we have a very strict policy in terms of internet category blocking, USB personal storage devices and software installs. Bring your own laptop in and you connect securely via Citrix to business apps and you can download and install to your laptop to your hearts content! BYOD is not for every organisation but this is the benefits we see in ours.

Desert Rose
Desert Rose

I would not ever consider using devices that I pay/paid for to do company business. I have a company-issued smart phone that is strictly for work, but I would never consent to my company having control over, or benefitting from devices that I buy for my personal use. Not to mention the possibility of the lines beween personal and work usage becoming blurry...opening the door for unintended consequences.

briesmith
briesmith

Can't see how we ever got to BYOD in the first place. We never let staff bring in their own VDUs, typewriters or desks. Why have we decided that computer terminals are OK provided they're called something else; like smartphone, or tablet? Is this a case of management being scared to manage? Or trying to get equipment on the cheap? Or simple inertia?

paulm
paulm

I think that makes me normal, not just me then !!!

fgeck
fgeck

As paulm stated I too see little motivation/benefit or momentum if the user has to buy the equipment. If the business does and allows the user to use for personal use then yea but that does not seem to be the model. The benefit stated are peanuts to the employee when to do this right they will have to basically give up their rights and privacy on the phone so that it can be properly managed on the corporate network. And where I work they would have the authority to confiscate at anytime. I know of almost no one once they understand the operating parameters would buy a phone for company business except for the very few that live breath and die fro their jobs.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

would consider doing all that, or even any of it? They'd see it as an increase in costs and therefore a reduction in profit. Far better to pretend these are non-issues, and or browbeat your people into absorbing the costs as the price for being employed. Total denial of reality, I'm afraid.

paulm
paulm

I seem to be the only IT guy who doesn't see any benefits of BYOD. If my staff had to start buying their own phones and paying their own contracts when they have always had a phone and contract provided, they would laugh in my face. Why would anyone possibly agree to this? Seriously, can someone make it clear because everyone seems to be on this bandwagon except me and I feel like I'm missing the point of it somewhere !!!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

What's the point of that? Do you know how much those poor buggers get paid. If I wanted to sneak out with something I could double their day's wages with my lunch money.. What about people with company portables are you going to say they can't leave the premises with them? Most of us are dead keen on making sure BYOD if it is done, it's done properly. You are not helping!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Flap and button? that would be back to the eighties and epaulettes. On a more serious note. When will if you've brought your own device so you can use it, turn into where is it then? It's dead easy for something like mobility to insert itself all over the job. I do fair few demos and presentations, so instead of the standard desktop, I have a laptop. Now they need someone to do a presentation, Tony and his laptop get's wheeled out. That sort of thing is organic. When you say theres no company data on it does that include internal emails? There's often all sorts of things in them, that the company wouldn't like exposing externally, and that's down to how secure someone's personal device is and their security habits. Last and far from least what about none of my personal data, being exposed to the company. I don't mean just arranging an assignation with luscious Linda from sales and sending it via her company email address... There's a serious blurring between your work and personal life going on here, more than one person and company has already tripped up over that. From posting my boss is a git on their facebook page, to a company trying to claim a sales manager's social networking contact list is theirs. It's too big a tin of worms to just shrug off in such a blase fashion.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

The only way that could be true is if you are only using it's "dumb" features. You make the same argument and say we don't need an email server, we'll just all have a hotmail account.... Make your company portal a facebook page... PS I drowned two personal phones in coffee in the space of a month. One slid out of my shirt pocket, did a perfect triple gainer and dived directly into the missus' mug without touching the sides. I got a new one and was charging it, caught the power lead, and it tarzaned directly into the mug I'd just put down. Yours sincerely Tony "Lucky" Hopkinson :(

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

like most of these boiled down to convincing the employee it's to their advantage to work on their own time. Most of the employees I support are hourly workers; working during lunch or outside scheduled hours ain't gonna happen. "However, there might be one hurdle in the way reluctant end users. Not everyone will see the value in bringing their own hardware into the workplace or using it out in the wild for work endeavors" That's because for many, there is no value, especially those who use desktops and don't need mobility. Even if I own a laptop, why would I want to drag it back and forth to work when a company-supplied desktop is all I need?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

You are also far from the only user. A small set of users are pushing for this. Mainly the ones who can absorb or write off the cost of the kit, and to be brutally honest the ones who just haven't thought through the downsides. The points are It increases the market for the devices. It decreases the the obvious up front short term cost of providing kit so an employee can work. All other points are being treated as irrelevant by the people pushing those two agenda.

mckinnej
mckinnej

This BYOD thing is a total scam. It is nothing but a trick to reduce costs by pushing mobile device cost off on the employees. What's next, bring your own desk? Bring your own breakroom furniture? If a company wants their employees to be mobile, the company needs to fund and purchase the mobile devices to make that happen. The small group that is pushing for this either have a real need that the company isn't meeting or they're just trying to appear cool and trendy by showing off their gadgets to their co-workers, Of course, as Tony mentioned, there might be some sort of hidden agenda related to increasing the overall market. They're even talking about doing this in the DoD. I have to ask, why? The obvious security risk should override everything, but the trendy craze seems to have kicked that to the curb. You can't even connect a USB drive to a DoD computer yet they're going to allow "foreign" devices on the network. Yeah, that's going to end well...

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