BYOD faced some criticisms in 2014 but appears set to evolve further this year.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) had an eventful 2014. There was lots of innovation on the enterprise mobility management (EMM)/mobile device management (MDM) markets. A headline grabbing BYOD lawsuit not to mention growing digital privacy concerns also mark the year 2014 in BYOD. There were industry analysts and pundits predicting the demise of BYOD in 2014, but hey, here we are in 2015 and BYOD remains.
While I'm on record for predicting more Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) or BYOD/CYOD hybrids in 2015, I also see BYOD as very much alive in 2015 and may even prosper beyond what some industry analysts and pundits predict.
1. More Cloud, Means More Enterprise Mobility especially BYOD
As more businesses move their email, calendaring, unified communications (UC) and collaboration tools into the cloud, it's easier to justify employees and contractors accessing these systems from personal devices because their devices are never touching a network endpoint.
2. Businesses relying more on contractors versus employees
The hiring of contractors and other temporary workers is due to only rise in 2015. A recent CareerBuilder hiring survey states "Forty-six percent of employers plan to hire temporary or contract workers in 2015, up from 42 percent last year." These numbers could potentially rise higher if the much-delayed employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA otherwise known as Obamacare) kicks in causing employers of all sizes to adjust the size of their full time workforce. I guess you can say that BYOD is one of the hidden beneficiaries of Obamacare.
Fewer employees translate into fewer reasons for businesses to pay for mobile devices and related expenses because it's now off put onto the contractor.
A growing reliance on contractors means employers could distance themselves from the business of purchasing and managing mobile devices (or at least some would like to make themselves think) but the same security principles around EMM and corporate data still apply.
3. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt
There are always going to be in fear of losing their job or contract so using their personal mobile device (uncompensated) for work is going to be the least of their worries. Yet, I expect as the job market is forecasted to open up this year such fear should go away.
Uncertainty in what's right to do about personal device usage from both employers and employees. BYOD and the overall consumerization of IT are seen as a viral phenomenon in many enterprises. If employees want to use their own personal mobile devices for work, just let them is what some businesses are going to do. Likewise, there's the convenience factor that BYOD brings for some employee could bring uncertainties that make some keep personal device usage at work under wraps.
Without BYOD policies in place, doubts amongst employers and users are only going to persist until a significant event like a data breach occurs and more formal policies and security for BYOD are put into place.
4. Rise of CYOD/BYOD hybrid scenarios
There's also the prospect of enterprises adopting a CYOD/BYOD hybrid for their users. While some might question the fairness of such a model could be fair to all employees, here are some scenarios where a hybrid could come into play:
The sales team scenario
- Senior sales people are reluctant to part with the mobile phone numbers they've used for years to stay in touch with their industry contacts. The sales VP pushes for phone and data reimbursements as part of the employee agreements.
- Employer pays for sales team BYOD but implements a CYOD plan for non-sales employees
The limited CYOD and cloud scenario
- Business provides CYOD for managers and critical personnel
- Other employees allowed to access their business email, calendar, and unified communications (UC) platform on their personal smart phones and tablets
- A fixed stipend may or may not be available for employee phone expenses
The second scenario is the one I expect to see more of in 2015 and see it as one of the most fundamental BYOD changes we can expect to experience.
5. Split billing becomes reality
Telecommunications expense management firms were all the rage in the Washington, DC area during the telecommunications boom of the late nineties/early 2000s. The companies seemingly went away due to a range of economic and business reasons.
The 2014 California BYOD lawsuit brought some renewed concerns over the employer paying for an employee's calling minutes and data used for work. Companies including Good Technologies , AT&T, and Blackberry released technologies or made strategic acquisitions enabling businesses to support split billing (or dual billing) of calling minutes and data on BYOD devices between the employer and employee.
Look for an upcoming TechRepublic article from me where I speak with Christy Wyatt, CEO of Good Technologies about dual billing.
BYOD isn't dead yet...
The key to the persistence of the BYOD trend is that it remains a moving target regardless of whether it starts virally or through a management sanctioned initiative.
Read more about BYOD and mobility: