Recent research conducted by Ipsos MORI and commissioned by Huddle, a collaboration platform vendor, found that 73% of office workers in the United States (61% in the UK) are downloading personal software and apps on enterprise-owned tablets. Meanwhile, 52% of U.S. workers (59% in the UK) use personal laptops, tablets, and smartphones to store and work on enterprise content. These findings shed light on where CIOs need to focus on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) inside their enterprises.
I’ve been hearing a number of industry experts and analysts decry that we are in the era of BYOD 2.0. From this writer’s seat, BYOD is still struggling for a definition in 2013. BYOD 2.0 comes off as too much of one sect’s attempt to define the hydra that BYOD has become due to marketing, PR, and technology punditry.
BYOD 2.0 in the enterprise
If my inbox is any barometer, technology vendors large and small want a slice of revenue from BYOD. I receive press releases and pitches frequently that try to shoehorn various technologies into some sort of a BYOD solution.
The best comparison/contrast I’ve read about BYOD 2.0 and BYOD is from a Forbes.com article by Bob Egan entitled, "BYOD As We Know It Is Dead":
"If BYOD 1.0 has been responding to the needs of the employee, BYOD 2.0 efforts will focus more on the needs of where the enterprise and the employee intersect. Perhaps the most valuable key attribute of BYOD 2.0 will be to provide right-time experience (user interface + user experience) to the systems, solutions and points of collaboration that are mutually relevant to the company and to the employee."
There's some valid sentiment in this definition. The quote comes from Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie. He knows what he's talking about. His quote strikes to the heart of what I see as one of the issues around vendors and pundits defining BYOD. These issues include:
- “Romancing” the trend instead of focusing on the business solution
- Putting the needs of the employee before the needs of the business
- Focusing on the employee before the team and the project
F5 spun yet another BYOD 2.0 definition to suit their own marketing agendas with "BYOD 2.0 – Moving Beyond MDM with F5 Mobile App Manager":
"BYOD 2.0 seeks to ensure that the enterprise footprint on a personally owned device is limited to the enterprise data and applications and nothing more. This means that mobile device management is supplanted by mobile application management (MAM), and device-level VPNs are replaced by application-specific VPNs. These application-specific VPNs include technology such as BIG-IP APM AppTunnels, a single secure, encrypted connection to a specific service such as Microsoft Exchange."
I can’t fault F5 for this maneuver. However, F5 and other vendor definitions of BYOD and BYOD 2.0 are fomenting confusion and not much substantive discussion on how to implement a BYOD program successfully within a corporate enterprise without risking data security and employee productivity.
< Insert Company Name Here > BYOD
I advocate that CIOs, IT departments, and their business users define BYOD for their organization. When you break it down, BYOD is another business decision. It’s one tool to enable employees to be more responsive to customers and prospects. Going to BYOD or bypassing profoundly influences employee communications and collaboration. There are also productivity implications, because your employees will have access to documents and other corporate information across multiple devices from wherever they are working.
Toss out the marketing literature. Focus on what your organization needs from BYOD to be successful. Here’s an outline of what you need to do to define BYOD for your organization:
- Define success for BYOD in your organization
- Define and document BYOD user policies
- Audit your end point and network security to ensure that it can accommodate an influx of BYOD user devices
- Implement security infrastructure via Mobile Device Management (MDM), virtualization, the cloud, or a hybrid solution that meets your requirements
- Define collaboration and document-level security for BYOD devices
- Provide end-user training in your program policies and security
- Evaluate the success of your BYOD program policies through in-person or online feedback mechanisms
- Make policy and other corrections as needed, based on your evaluation
- Capture BYOD success stories from within your organization
The CIO and their team need to drive BYOD from concept through implementation in their organization. Strong CIO leadership is integral to the success of a BYOD program. Only the CIO and the business units they support can write the definition of BYOD or BYOD 2.0 -- or whatever you want to call it. Business needs to come first, and then the employee benefits.
Is your organization defining BYOD for itself? Share your BYOD experience in the discussion thread below.
Will Kelly is a technical and marketing communications writer based in the Washington, DC area. He has written about SMB technology, data center management, project management applications, mobile computing, Microsoft Office, and productivity applications for online and print technology publications. You can reach Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.