Smartphones

The Biggest CIO Challenge of 2010: BYOT

The new challenge for CIOs is going to come from the grassroots of an organization in the guise of a movement to Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) to the workplace.

The biggest challenge on the horizon for tech executives is not going to be cloud computing, virtualization or enterprise systems. Rather, it's going to come from the grassroots of an organization in the guise of a movement to Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) to the workplace. We have all heard of how the new generation of workers will change the way employees interact with their employers, and while much of it is overblown, this is a generation that has a fundamentally different attitude towards technology that will definitely reshape corporate IT.

We're witnessing the end of an era as workers retire who entered the workforce before computers were common in the home. This generation interacted with the PC as a business tool and little more, and was unfamiliar with its inner workings and maintenance, and therefore demanded a "high-touch" IT staff to maintain the machines. The PC was a tool to get a job done, and when that job was done the machine was powered off and life went on. The newer generation of workers grew up with the personal computer. Not only were computers integrated into their lives, but they were a means of personal expression, interpersonal communication with both friends and colleagues, and a tool that blended their work and personal lives in one consolidated workspace.

Recently a similar trend has occurred with mobile phones. Corporations were the early adopters of smart phones, with the effective and centrally-controlled Blackberry ruling the day. Smart phones were tools for executives or the province of a small cadre of "phone geeks," but not something the average person was interested in. That changed in the last year or two, and the smart phone has become much like the PC, a single device that people expect to use to manage their personal and business affairs in any manner they see fit.

In either case, an environment that's locked down and ruthlessly controlled by IT simply will not cut it anymore. As computers and phones have gone from exclusively business tools to a means of personal expression, IT dictating make, model and application selection will be just as anathema as the CEO dictating what color shirt, shoes and pants to wear. Users are going to demand an ability to use devices of their choosing to interact with corporate infrastructure, and I believe this trend is irreversible. IT organizations can choose to fight a losing battle and maintain their walled kingdom, or adopt a BYOT approach.

Bring Your iPhone to Work Day

If you consider how people use their computers, BYOT is far less threatening than in might have been a few years ago. Most people interact primarily with email and documents, and perhaps a few centralized business applications. Long before all this fancy "cloud computing" talk arrived on the scene, most corporations had moved their applications into a corporate cloud of sorts, and there are very few applications installed directly on a user's PC anymore that are not commodities like word processing or spreadsheet applications. In fact, many remote workers eschew clunky corporate laptops running outdated software and work on modern desktops through webmail and other "corporate cloud" portals. With technologies like virtualization becoming more prevalent, it makes far more sense to provide employees with a hosted virtual desktop, or even a virtual "work computer" on a USB stick that they can run on the hardware they prefer, whether it is a desktop with a massive LCD panel in their home office, or a Macbook at the local coffee shop.

Smart phones are in a similar boat. For the vast majority of corporate-types, the critical application on these phones is corporate email. As vendors standardize around a mechanism for providing push email, the infrastructure for something like a Blackberry looks increasingly irrelevant. Giving up the centralized control of a Blackberry-like infrastructure will be painful for IT departments, but users are already revolting against phones that are locked down at the corporate level, and demanding to know why their friends can install Facebook and read their gmail on their smart phone, but their IT department refuses to allow it. As functionality like remote wipe and Exchange sync become standard, IT will struggle to justify saying "no" to users that want one phone of their choice that integrates their personal and professional lives, especially as these users take titles like CEO.

But who will support it all?

This has long been the "final answer" from IT when attempting to keep BYOT from taking root. While "but that's not supported" has worked for the last several years, the excuse is wearing thin as large companies like Kraft and Unisys implement BYOT, and a generation of workers that supported their own technology enters the workforce. Rather than looking like the bad guy, IT can adopt BYOT-friendly policies and infrastructure, and make users well-aware of the fact that if they want BYOT, then they are the prime providers of hardware support and maintenance up to a basic set of corporate standards.

In the long run, BYOT is actually a very good deal for IT. BYOT gets IT out of the role of supporting huge fleets of dull grey business laptops, and for the rather meager price of letting users choose a device that they feel a personal connection to, actually improves the image of corporate IT. A cost-neutral approach of letting people pick their own technology even becomes a big corporate differentiator, presenting your company as forward-thinking when all you've done is reduce your IT infrastructure and "bought users off" by letting them pick the hardware they actually choose to support themselves! Gone are the hoards of steely faces growling "unsupported," and also gone are the IT headaches associated with the thankless job of supporting end-user hardware.

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology. Prevoyance Group provides strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com and you can follow his blog at www.itbswatch.com.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

61 comments
ed.caldwell
ed.caldwell

BYOT is stupid period!!! It would be like the military saying bring your own gun and supply your own bullets!!!!

john.ammon
john.ammon

Allowing user access to all the newset coolest gadgets (which changes on a monthly basis), the coolest software and allow them to use the next new social networking tool of the day does not make them more productive. Business is in business to do business. If someone could show me where someone could generate 10% more sales or save the company 10% in costs just because they had a iPhone versus a Droid versus a Blackberry, I'd eat my words. I can show black and white numbers from where standing up the extra hardware, software, maintenance and support structure costs more. As far as "actually improves the image of corporate IT" it actually hurts IT's image when we can figure out how to make all the different apps, on all the different platforms work seemlessly, 100 percent of the time and at no risk to the company's data or intellectual property and pass every single security audit while doing so. I do agree it is a balancing act between the companies needs and making the new generation of worker happier in a hip environment but the bottom line is that business exists to make money and if you can't show the return on investment then you won't be in business.

Derteufel
Derteufel

Instead of uniformity we are now dealing with having to learn the ins and outs of many different devices, whats inside them; SATA, IDE, SSD, and their warranty levels and channels. We might have to open IMAP on our eschange servers for someone to use their comfy e-mail application that we also have to learn, have unecessary risks opened up, and have to support someone in the coffee shop on their macbook they ran out and bought but can barely operate because they heard it was "cool". When the battery goes bad on the iPhone and we cant just replace it with one off the shelf, who gets blamed? A user on the road takes their IBM and the mb fails and now we have to call, verify the account of someone else, and hope they have onsite service. Now if we pay for a standard model Blackberry, but not an overpriced iphone that because its ATT only, it might fall outside of the corp agreement and discount with the home carrier and people will be upset they cant get most or all of their iphone paid for. I still believe in giving people sufficient options to perform base functions (OWA) on other computers but that corp issued machines need to be relied upon and its up to the ceo and IT staff to ensure we are providing users a solid means to conduct business. This is giving people just enough rope to hang themselves with. And its going to be a nightmare for us. If you come to work, use whats been designed to efficiently and plainly get the job done.

rknode
rknode

Why the sudden recognition of something that's been going on for years now? Check out what BP have been doing with "consumer IT". Check out KLM airlines as well. Review the whole Jericho Forum position. A shadow IT organization often emerges to support, but, by and large, bring your own IT is accompanied by "bring your own support" with a financial assist from the enterprise. Successful solutions to date have combined technology with HR policies and legal (liability) policies ... so don't just concentrate on cool consumer (portable) technologies.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I agree and disagree with the idea behind this post. I agree in he sense if you have remote access technologies in place such as RemoteApp or using only Remote Desktop to access corporate resources, thus all of the corporate information is still only hosted on corporate controlled equipment. Having company data on my personal machine, not an option. One, the company will NEVER be allowed to look at my machine under ANY circumstances, even under a court order. It is much better to have the work stuff completely seperate from personal stuff. Does that mean that I want to carry around two machines when I go on a business trip, absolutely not. I also will NEVER use a corporate machine to perform personal tasks, that is why I have a personal machine. I do like the idea of having a corporate supplied virtual machine on a removable device that will be controlled by corporate IT.

AV .
AV .

I work in a 130 user environment. About 50 of them have their own smartphones of every type. Our small IT department of 2 people now has to support a PC for each user and the smartphones of their choice because management wants that. There is no such thing as IT not being involved in helping an end user with the smartphone of his choice. What if you're talking about senior management? Are you going to say you don't support their model phone? I don't think so. There has to be standards. AV

david.schofield
david.schofield

Bring No Other Technology. I have been in the BYOT with a laptop and handheld. When changes are made on the network affecting my devices I am out of business. When tech support tells me there is no support for the device or configuration it is a stand still moment or day fixing. Standardization is critical in mass deployment. Although the corp may support change, their clients may not and require extra safeguards or be eliminated as a vendor.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

...it would take a spectacularly special kind of stupid to allow such a policy at any company of any serious size or import?

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

I will never support BYOT. It's hard enough right now providing support to what our users have. You add in more apps and more hardware and (MAJOR PREDICTION HERE) you will see many more companies getting hacked or losing vital/confidential data. These same companies will also get sued because some Generation ME users got their way by getting their "toys". Get real Patrick. EMD

steve.rayner
steve.rayner

Somebody shoot me if I ever even dream about asking Prevocance Group for real ICT advice; Patrick lives in a fantasy world. In my world I have a statuory obligation to protect data and to know where it is at all times.As I am in the Health Sector this is vital and I could be in court for failing in my duties. As a manager of staff, between 8 & 5 you are mine because you are spending my dollar so dont even think about asking for access to a "social networking" site - do that on your own dollar. I give you the tool I want you to use (free of charge to you) and during your break you can do a bit of on-line banking or personal email. However, dont let it get in the way of your business duties and dont spend muy money doing it. I have to admit to being a grumpy old man who started when 48K of Main Memory on a room sized mainframe was the latest technology but I do now use laptops, cellphones, PDAs and occaisional even lok up facebook - but not when I am spending my boss' dollar.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

After reading this article, the first thing that hit me was that this article actually addresses multiple issues. The first is the issue of social networking in the workplace. I have heard the argument that sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace have their place in the workplace but to be honest, as progressive of a thinker as I am, I still sit behind that wall. I feel that there are few instances in the workplace where access to social networking sites are a positive and I see the access to these sites as a negative due to the lack of productivity. The second issue discussed in this article is in regards to the end users selecting their own hardware. I guess I am again behind the wall in this area because when I think of this all I can see in Pandora?s Box. As IT makes strides to make mainstream managing the technical environment, all I see this doing is causing more problems than it solves.

rusty62
rusty62

In effect this is already happening. To the IT folks, if you do not find a way to adapt, some one will, and more than likely that some one is coming off the street not within your organization. To the regulators I say, find a way to adapt regulations, or else this will happen like when whisky was a prohibited product. We have to find a way to blend the infrastructure in such a way that we can run this homogenous environment contained in a "controlled" environment. Perhaps VM machines can help develop such "controlled" environment. The central idea would be to build one where you can control the ports, the antivirus, and the OS regardless of which physical device you are using to connect to your corporate network. If you look at it from the broader picture this is already happening via the web. Then can't we emulate that in corporate networks? We have to get creative and invest more time in forward thinking rather than wasting time digging deeper into the existing hole. The point in fact is that the upcoming generation of workers can bring a series on unpredictable problems because of the speed in which technology is changing and they are adopting that speed as well. We can not become red-lights by default. I am not agitating for chaos neither but to develop a framework in which we can provide a new light: blue. You either connect or not connect. Those who connect will be able to do business. Thos who do not connect will connect somewhere else, but they will connect anyway.

Twister_7777
Twister_7777

Patrick, How can you think that we will take seriously an article like this one? This may occurs if, and only IF, security updates, repairs within and outside warranty period, compatibility issues, licenses, operating systems, biometrics, piracy, CRM, B.I.(I'll stop the list here ..) are not taken under serious consideration ... Why would a serious enterprise will invest millions in infrastructures to get a reliable network, databases interconnectivity, up-to-date security on all computers of the firm to let "Mr. I have mess around on Facebook and play Flash game for 12 years" bring is personal laptop, with an illegal and unpatched version of Windows on his machine, without an anti-virus software, without spywares and trojans protection, with 3rd party software with security holes connect to my network? Do you want me to open the ports so he can download questionable content during business hours? I know, I'm pushing too far here but it is only to show that it simply doesn't make sense ... Without being bully and restricting everything without looking at it, IT can find a way to included new technology into the "big picture" if they can become an advantage against your competitor or if they can increase productivity and help to meet the goals that the enterprise is looking forward ... So, stop being in your cloud Patrick. Cloud computing will be here one day, but you are on a BIG cloud and you're missing something ....

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Everyone commenting so far is unanimously opposed to this. Does anyone support it? Other than Patrick and his people at Prevoyance, does anyone here allow their employees to use their personally-owned computer to access company files? I'm not talking about telecommuting, which is still often done with a company-provided system. Phones I can see; it's easier to restrict their access. But computers? Anybody out there? Affirmative replies only, please. [[crickets chirping]]

gerhardh
gerhardh

Ok, maybe we played the game of central procurement for IT equipment too long. Initially, economy of scale and the need to buy relatively expensive high-end equipment for professional use gave this approach an edge. But things have changed: new technology becomes outdated with ever increasing pace; most business applications will do just fine with low to medium range consumer PCs; increasing the committed quantities and reducing the requirements still gets us a highly competitive price, but the last pieces of the bulk are no longer new technology and the price is no longer good, so any tech-aware accountant will complain that he could get a better equipped device from any retail shop just around the corner for the same or even less. To me, BYOT is just a short term answer to the issue, as it obviously causes more problems than it will solve. Either we wait for the promotors of BYOT to come up with working solutions to the new issues (security, support, ...) or we adapt the central procurement approach as needed, e.g. by buying smaller bunches of similar equipment from the consumer shop just around the corner in cases where the old approach doesn't work out well.

Admyro
Admyro

All those arguments about security, maintenance, etc... are 100% right, and I support them. In addition, I'd like to make a simple check : - I'm young enough to know only of a work environment with PC and cell phone : yes - I've used those in my personnal life for many years : yes - I'm enough technically skilled to maintain myself my PC if needed : yes BUT even if I work in for the CIO of my company, that is not the case of all my colleagues... - When something is wrong on my PC, it is the best choice to diagnose and fix it myself : NO! (in the meantime I'm not doing my job + my salary is higher than the one of the tech support guy who should do it) I agree that the new generation (which I'm part of) could *like* a lot BYOT, but there is many reasons not to do it!

enaso
enaso

This will be a challenge for the heathcare industry where networks and application systems are validated to ensure that they do what they are supposed to do and do not do what they are not supposed to do. This statement implies that adequate control is maintained over changes to these networks and applications once the validation process is complete, to ensure that they are kept in a validated state. For systems that are not web-based, this includes maintaining control over the configuration of devices (PC's, laptops, tablets, etc )connected to the network and used to enter or maintain data into these validated systems. The issue here is the integrity of the data itself and the processing of that data. For example, if a system was validated using only one vendors operating system and browser combination there would be no assurance (proof via validation testing) that the integrity of data entered/processed is maintained when another vendors operating system / browercombination is utilized if it is not tested. Permitting foreign devices to attach to the corporate network and permitting users to access validated systems with these devices, while at the same time guaranteeing data / processing integrity to regulatory agencies will certainly be a challenge. metaman6

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

This is the funniest (read:rediculous) thing I have read on TR for a while now. Patrick can't be serious if he believes the new "trend" is BYOT to the workplace. The whole scenario is absolutely insane from a security standpoint, not to mention from a compliance view. If he is serious, I would hate to be the antivirus/antispam/antispyware,greyware,malware guy at the Prevoyance Group. To say most people grew up with computers these days so that makes them far more "aware" and "knowledgeable" of PCs is a LOL embarassment on his part. (his statement was: The newer generation of workers grew up with the personal computer. Not only were computers integrated into their lives, but they were a means of personal expression, interpersonal communication with both friends and colleagues, and a tool that blended their work and personal lives in one consolidated workspace.) This way of thinking is like saying most people grew up playing FPS (First Person Shooter) video games so they are knowledgeable and ready to go to the army and go to war. I don't know any workplace that lets themselves be bullied by their workforce into using their own technology. That seems like the inmates running the asylum to me.

BradTD
BradTD

I disagree for the most part with this article and agree with the comments made so far. This is not realistic in organizations where security is actually a concern. I suppport Department of Defense (Navy) systems, where security is priority one--even ahead of such things as delivering training content. In addition, uniformity is still much more important in a large IT organization than people's personal preferences. I agree that IT departments sometimes need to be more user-friendly, but allowing anything and everything under the sun will make providing quality support next to impossible. How would that improve the IT department's reputation? Also, I'm tired of hearing that this generation of users should be allowed to bring their own items because they grew up with it. Sending e-mail, browsing the Internet, and using Facebook does NOT connotate being technically savvy.

Wunderdawg
Wunderdawg

It seems the old adage of "the grass is greener" still holds true even in today's high tech workplace. If we always provided everything the end-users want there would be mass chaos. It's unfortunate that folks like Patrick have difficulty differentiating between technical progress and cultural phases. I don't disagree that the average employee is more knowledgable of PC basics, but when was the last time Joe Accountant had to restore a 10 terabye Oracle database? There will always be/and must be control for the sake of security and the viability of corporations. Reality meets Nirvana when you are trying to fulfill SOX or FERC regulatory requirements while the end-user community is off chasing iPhone updates.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

...did a user's desire to express their personal creativity take precedence over the company's ability to safeguard their data? I agree with the idea of giving users a choice from a SMALL subset of pre-tested and pre-approved equipment, but the idea of letting anyone bring in anything they want AND still expecting IT to support it is retarded. It is tolerable in small companies, but once you get over a certain size, but when you're dealing with 1000+ users, all of them wanting to use a different laptop, a different phone, and different software...well...anyone who has been in the IT field for more than about 30 seconds can see the problem. Sorry Patrick, but you're WAY off. Frankly, I cannot believe you weren't tossed out the door the first time you recommended that to an F500 company.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

....if I am to understand this properly, corporations that have little to no qualms about pillaging retirement funds, fudging income statements, decimating native habitats, polluting water tables and stealing candy from babies will have a major problem in telling the employees (many of whom they'd pink slip on an executive's whim) that they can't put personal equipment onto the corporate network????? Hyperbole aside, I think there is a legitimate issue of employees accessing corporate information on personal computers (using the home TrojanBot to get into OWA, for example), and handling those security headaches. But in terms of bringing in personal equipment, this would be/should be a no-go for just about any firm that is under any sort of regulatory oversight. My last 3 employers (including the current one) have all been 'enterprise-sized' (5,000 + employees) and have all had to meet varying compliance guidelines (HIPAA, SEC, SOX). In each place, NAC would detect a non-standard machine, and shut down the port before anyone in IT even received an alert. If someone did need to bring in an outside machine (such as consultants), they were first inspected by IT, and then put onto a segregated VLAN. Asides from the inherent security risks and the additional overhead that supporting employee-owned PCs create, firms that do this further encroach upon the personal lives of employees. The word 'No' is one of the shortest and most powerful ones in the English language. Any executive worth their salt should be able to discern when to use it and use it well.

mabasomt
mabasomt

BYOT sounds young, exciting, new and all the great things but lets not forget that IT is here to support business functions and not to entertain every new technology that is introduced out there. IT has a responsibility & accountability to ring fence the environment and reduce security threats. Not all new technologies needs to be absorbed within the corporate environment unless there is a good business case to show.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"IT dictating make, model and application selection will be just as anathema as the CEO dictating what color shirt, shoes and pants to wear." Employees clothes don't have to interact with each other. Employees clothes aren't potential security threats. Look at the privacy practices of most social network users; would you trust R&D to someone who posts drunk, naked photos of himself? "...most corporations had moved their applications into a corporate cloud of sorts, and there are very few applications installed directly on a user?s PC anymore..." Maybe at the F500 level. The rest of us are still installing apps on client systems, commodity apps or otherwise. "...demanding to know why their friends can install Facebook and read their gmail on their smart phone, but their IT department refuses to allow it." Then go work where your friends do. "IT can adopt BYOT-friendly policies and infrastructure, and make users well-aware of the fact that if they want BYOT, then they are the prime providers of hardware support and maintenance...and also gone are the IT headaches associated with the thankless job of supporting end-user hardware." I think you've grossly overestimated the maintenance skills of the average user. While younger workers have grown up with technology, that doesn't mean they know anything about repairing it. Instead of supporting company-owned client hardware, IT will support a fleet of 'loaners' supervisors will demand when an employee's personally-owned system is in the shop; loaners that will have to be constantly reconfigured after each user. IT will also still be supporting systems for those employees who either don't want to use their personally-owned system at work, prefer a desktop, or just plain don't want a computer at home. Yes, these kind of people still exist (and may be in the majority of employees).

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

...telling senior management their personal favorite pet smart phone isnt supported. None whatsoever. Been there, done that, will do it again. Also dont have a problem telling them their personal laptop is NOT going on my network. In every single circumstance where one of them has even thought about pushing back and trying to throw their title around, a simple redirect to the CEO and corporate policy tends to rectify the problem. If your senior management will not follow policies the executive team hired YOU to enforce, then you need to take it up with the executive team. I realize it is a little daunting the first time you do it, but ultimately that is your job.

dwdino
dwdino

...I have told senior management that if you choose this path we will be unable to support you. When you show direct correlations to other business departments (accounting, HR, etc.) it is easier to make your case. There are policies made by other departments that control senior management, IT should be no different. Now that would make a good article/discussion - why is IT the one department that must bow to management whims? hmmm... edited for clarity

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'd use the phrase "ill advised", but the general feeling is the same.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...Patrick Gray was right, and that more firms are going this route, after all. I mean, the recent global track record for organizational leadership ain't exactly stellar; nor do the boardrooms appear to be bastions of intellect! ;)

Twister_7777
Twister_7777

When you come to work, you come to work, not to continue your entertainment home's life. You are paid to work, not to play. If playing is more important to you than working, why don't you stay home ? When you'll be hungry enough, you'll go to work for real. I'm not in the same generation than the previous man who placed the post but I'm thinking exactly like him. Time is money and money matters, specially in a economical meltdown where each dollars is important.

steve.rayner
steve.rayner

Apologies for spelling My fingers were demonstrating the feelings I have about this drivel.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

Go get a degree in IT, work in a helpdesk environment for awhile and then see if you think the same. What a maroon! Bugs Bunny.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

Only if your concept of speed is different than mine. This isn't something which will have any form of impact on competition. Perhaps as a minor perk to higher level people within small niche fields, but as a rule, the whole concept is absurd. Last I checked, employees do not dictate standards to the company and companies do not dictate regulations to the regulators. No, it isn't like prohibition. Most users don't want to have to supply their own equipment, oddly enough.

dwdino
dwdino

I whole heartedly agree with most here and the sentiment that the article is not reality. But, you must remember to apply your understanding to multiple use cases in order to validate or dismiss the topic. While I refuse to allow home systems and personal phone to directly interact with the corporate infrastructure, we due have a perfect use case where certain aspects of BYOT applies. In fact, we are even testing such a deployment with certain upper level personnel. Now let us apply some meat to the frail framework already constructed. Most of us operate within some sort of centralized authentication realm (LDAP, Active Directory, eDirectory) etc. These are utilized to empower and streamline operations and reporting. Now would any of us allow "Joe User" to plugin their personal equipment and access these resources? No. But now extrapolate these resources (virtualize) and the opportunity arises for BYOT. In our scenario, as VDI and application virtualization increase, the "desktop" requirements decrease. We have gone from full systems, to thin clients, and are beginning to support other options. The only knowledge acquisition is support for the virtualization client. The other side of the coin with BYOT is that you trust no one. With managed desktops and standardized configurations, there is a certain level of trust - explicit or implied. BYOT requires that all resources are centrally controlled and that no direct interaction occurs. Maybe one day BYOT may apply more broadly, but right now it is a niche opportunity.

JamesRL
JamesRL

We have an absolute policy of no non-corporate PCs on the network, including those outside the office using VPN. It has to be our computer, our OS image, our software configuration. Very few us of have rights to install software. Non compliance can result in being shown the door, hurried along by a big boot. The flaw though is in web/smartphone access to email. You are allowed to access the email through OWA or through a smartphone thats not owned by the company. We have people who buy non standard smartphones (iPhone for example) with their own money, and use it to access their mail. How we support it is by publishing a series of instructions on how to do the setup for each device type (Windows Mobile/iPhone/Blackberry). But now thats not sufficient. Because of increasing security concerns, there are now additional steps users have to take to make their devices more secure, or risk having their ability to access their email on their self purchased smartphones. Now if they are "approved" for a specific company paid for Smartphone bought through company channels, they get lots of support. If they aren't approved for this kind of phone and they do it anyway, its with the understanding that the document is all the support they will get.

scripter
scripter

I know of a law firm in downtown Manhattan that gives its lawyers $1500 every three years and tells them to go out and purchase a work laptop. Access from outside is mediated by SSL VPN and Citrix - to my knowledge there is no IPSEC VPN. However, I believe the lawyers are permitted to plug their laptops into the corporate net. I'm glad it's not my shop.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

The ROI is neglible and managing this concept is a nightmare. To be honest, I see very few environments where this will work. It sounds great unless your the one that has to make it work.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...however, I do know of a 'boutique' consulting firm that required their consultants to purchase their own equipment. They also utilized outsourced e-mail and CRM solutions, and did not have a formal IT department (total company size was

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You've got an outstanding point regarding the value of the time of the person doing the repairs. Speaking as one of those tech support guys, it makes more sense for me to do it than an director or C-level type. Not only does my time cost the company less money, but I can do it faster, saving even more. In addition, I've already got the tools (including an ESD bench). Standard models means I already have the parts. If a field / sales type has a breakdown on the road, I can FedEx him a comparable system overnight with a basic suit of software already installed.

JimWillette
JimWillette

Having traveled through corporate America for a few years, there is certainly that trend in certain sectors, but not in others. Larger companies, and those that require high security, tend to lock down the technology and the technology choices. But even within this space, there is a trend to requiring employees buy and use their own smartphones for use in the corporate environment. In a few cases, mostly with smaller companies, the employee's own laptop is used, and in many cases whoever's laptop is their workstation, it freely travels home with them, and may even be taken on non-business travel. Does this stress the IT department? Well, yes. It is still possible to set boundaries so that the support staff is dealing with technology with which they are familiar, if not completely expert. They may also restrict the other software being used on those devices (the owner is no longer the administrator or "root" user). Data security and portability is another headache. Rediculous is a bit strong, but adventurous certainly qualifies. It may be the price of true agility.

Brenton Keegan
Brenton Keegan

Having employees bring in their own technology is a HUGE security liability. I pretty much had the same sentiment when I read the statement about users being more "more aware". One of the departments at my organization does software development, you don't get more "aware" than that, but all their computers are purchased by the company and managed by IT staff. the BYOT "trend" will last just as long as it takes for it to blow up in someone's face.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

"I agree with the idea of giving users a choice from a SMALL subset of pre-tested and pre-approved equipment" If a firm goes the route of allowing anything into the firm, they stand to lose significant purchasing power. One of the reasons some people get such great prices on the HP servers and ProCurve switches they need is because they also commit to purchase 1000 of the latest HP desktops and laptops.

david.schofield
david.schofield

The CEO certainly can dictate that you wear a shirt, shoes and pants. They can also dictate how much of your body they cover to avoid all kinds of workplace issues.

jwhitby3
jwhitby3

This is definitely not a well thought out article. While I'm familiar with the BYOT concept, the presentation of such is horrible in it's approach. If you allow the BYOT approach there still have to be some standards. The real problem with the approach is it's a double standard any way you look at it. Some of the people are going to have their own equipment of one type or another. Then there are those that cannot reasonably expect to use their own equipment simply due to the role they fill. They are going to have to have some standardized equipment. The flip side of this whole thing, is if you want to take the BYOT approach, then you need to train your help desk accordingly. Once you do that, you will find that your help desk employees make more money than your CIO, or they take a job elsewhere that will pay them what all the new skills they have been taught are worth. BYOT? Not in our company!

AV .
AV .

The CEO is the one that wants IT to cater to the upper echelon of the user population, even if the tech committee tells them it isn't a good idea. The only way we've found to get around it is to strongly recommend certain phones. IT where I work is a toothless tiger. I've never worked in an IT department that allows the users to dictate the technology. The CEO's argument is to give people what they want if they're making money for the company. End of story. Fortunately, its just the smartphones. AV

AV .
AV .

With accounting and HR, there are hard and fast rules. Not so much with IT, at least where I work. Everything's negotiable. If someone is making money for the company, they generally get whatever technology they want. How it will work with IT is usually an afterthought. I know IT is a service organization and it has to be agile, but there are limits. No prima donnas welcome. IT can be abused because it isn't defined. AV

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

In many companies, IT is not seen as contributing to the bottom line in any way. It is an antiquated and inaccurate mentality, but it is still out there. The trick is, showing the decision makers that IT is not merely a liability.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

What advantage does this offer companies that are considering this? As everyone has already said, managing this type of environment is going to be a major undertaking so what return will this bring?

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

Its one thing to say "Ok, you can have the heavy wide-screen or the lightweight laptop. You have a choice between a BB and a WinMo phone and you're welcome to order any keyboard, mouse, laptop bag you want up to a certain dollar figure" It is entirely different to say "Bring in whatever you want and we'll fit it into the network". Just the idea of J. Random User bringing in whatever he wants makes me cringe.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

At what point does the policy shift from: "The company allows you to use your own system, provided it meets certain standards." to: "Oh, you don't have a computer? Gee, the company expect you to use your own system, but we'll scrounge one up." to: "Hey, temp; the company requires you to provide your own system, and it must meet these standards." That's an awfully big requirement for an minimum wage data entry clerk.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I really liked my company because when I was hired, I could use my choice of smartphone and have them reimburse me for the usage, rather than having an additional phone for work. I also do not like carrying two portable computers around because it also does not make much sense for me, and it is a waste for the company.

eric.sorrentino
eric.sorrentino

The risks FAR outweigh the benefits. Only benefit I see is slightly happier new-hires. Woo-freakin-hoo. Last time I checked, NOBODY turns down a job just because they have to use corporate equipment or don't like the smart-phone the company provides.

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