Clients are too busy running their businesses to lead a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative. Users, however, are already deploying their personal devices within organizations. You need to be proactive and prepare a response to this trend for your clients.
If clients balk at the importance of a BYOD initiative, share these statistics with them: A February 2012 Harris Interactive survey reveals 81 percent "of adults are using at least one personal device for business", and Gartner predicts 70 percent of mobile professionals will fulfill professional obligations using personal devices within five years.
Here are three steps your IT consultancy should take to assist clients in properly managing the explosion of the BYOD trend.
1: Explain the challenges associated with BYOD
When a client's end users begin connecting their own tablet computers to corporate networks and VPNs and adding corporate Exchange accounts to their smartphones, the client begins losing control of the organization's data. That's dangerous, as a lost or stolen device can potentially leak sensitive, proprietary, or protected information to unauthorized parties.
You should bring this matter to the client's attention. Before the client meeting, you should review information from the ZDNet and TechRepublic special feature BYOD and the Consumerization of IT so you can discuss the increasing governance and compliance, mobile device management, and security challenges the BYOD trend presents.
2: Implement a BYOD policy
One action item that should result from a client meeting is the development and implementation of a BYOD policy that is tailored to the organization's unique challenges, business objectives, and end user needs. Numerous templates and guidance are available from a variety of resources, including TechRepublic, Gartner, and The White House.
You'll find that deploying a BYOD policy should prove more popular than implementing Internet and email usage restrictions. End users will appreciate that the organization will be assisting them in properly securing and deploying their approved personal devices for optimal operation and performance.
3: Enforce the BYOD policy
Once a BYOD policy is developed and introduced, it must be supported and enforced. End users must be convinced the organization is actively monitoring personal device usage, enforcing the policy fairly, and consistently striving to assist workers in maximizing their use of personal devices. Workers will catch on if lip service is paid to the new policy.
You could offer to host a 45 minute or one-hour meeting brown bag lunch and learn session at the client site. This training can help end users understand the need for the policy, find out the better performing tablets and smartphones, and hear examples of how one or two employees are leveraging personal devices to better stay in touch with clients and colleagues, increase productivity, and add flexibility to balancing their work and personal lives.
Additional BYOD resources
For more on this topic, check out the ZDNet and TechRepublic special feature BYOD and the Consumerization of IT, the TechRepublic Pro BYOD policy download, and The Executive's Guide to BYOD and the Consumerization of IT.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.