The recent Apple and Android announcements, not to mention the recent California court case results about employer reimbursements for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), speak to some powerful trends pushing and pulling BYOD. Recently, I had a chance to speak with Matthew David, chief digital strategist for Lochbridge (formerly CW Professional Services) to get a his view on the current state of BYOD out in the market.
Out of the BYOD comfort zone
"Of the things I think when you look at what's happening in the industry over the last four years is this explosion of smartphones starting four years ago. We've also started seeing added to that is tablets," says David. "What's interesting is the BYOD crusade has been something everyone has jumped on and said you can bring in your devices and get access to your email and the network."
After a few years, David says many employees have grown comfortable with BYOD.
"We want to do more things with our devices in particular tablets and one of the things I've observed is a huge push for tablets in offices," David says.
He gives the example of Evernote, an app that's his "go to tool" when he's in meeting. He uses it on his iPad because the interface is easy to use. He sees employees wanting similar apps pushing back to their employers for easy to use apps and mobile devices to make their lives better.
Closing the mobile OS floodgate
"The challenge is the BYOD phenomenon is that it has opened the flood gates for every kind of operating system to be accessible to the network," David states. "When you are building custom solutions it's very difficult to go in and choose a whole broad range of operating systems to support for one single point solution."
He's seeing more companies close down the floodgates of mobile OSes coming into their enterprise via BYOD initiatives.
"I'm seeing companies say, 'Yes, you can bring in your devices and connect to our network but and it's that magical but there has to be one of these approved devices,'" adds David.
Samsung and Apple dominate the approved device lists he sees in the industry.
"I have spoken to a couple of companies who also support Windows devices but that seems to be in the minority," he offers.
You don't want to be supporting many legacy phones advisedDavid. He points to the 19,000 device variations running Android out on the market. He sees Google working hard with its device and carrier partners but if you have employees who upgrade their mobile devices every 3-4 years, it further perpetuates the lack of standardization.
He sees the issues around the growing lack of device standardization as leading pushback from some companies who move away from BYOD to standardizing their employees on a specific device.
California BYOD court case ramifications
I brought up the recent California court ruling about BYOD expense reimbursements to David. He responded, "I'm not seeing anybody listening to it. I don't think that we have a situation."
We both had on our minds that the first headlining BYOD court ruling would be over a major data breach. On a serious note, thus far, David sees people just ignoring the court ruling. He sees a BYOD court case on the scale of the Microsoft long-term contractor lawsuit as the legal event that would impact BYOD adversely.
Pushback from mandated phones
He told me a story about a seatmate he had on an airline flight about six months ago. When David remarked on the person's Windows phone and asked him questions, he only heard about this person's dislike for the Windows phone because IT forced it upon him. He liked his iPhone. Now he has to carry two phones. Certainly, this story is repeating itself across many industries right now.
"One of the things I can see happening is a standard where you have to use their phone and you can't use it for personal calls," David said. "I think there is going to be a certain amount of pushback to that because where as five years ago when we were given a laptop computer for work, and we just did work on it." He sees mobile devices far more prevalent now than PCs were back at that time thus leading to employee pushback on mandated phones.
Pushing into a post-BYOD world
David sees a push forward into a post BYOD world driven primarily by Apple and Google leading to more mobile device standardization in the enterprise.
He points to Apple's incremental approach to adding enterprise features to iOS starting with ActiveSync in the first version of the iPhone. While some might have thought that Apple was culturally opposed to big corporations, David says you just have to look back there past keynotes to hear how many companies are making their devices a corporate standard
Apple understood what Microsoft learned years ago, get devices and technology used by the workforce and people will carry them home muses David.
David says he still fields questions from some CxOs about is mobile relevant to their company. He points to the recent Apple/IBM partnership as validation for mobility in the enterprise when these discussions arise.
"IBM is doing it why aren't you?" remarks David
On the subject of Google and Android, David sees Android still doing poorly in the enterprise, and I can't say that I disagree. Google has fumbled in enterprise mobility. He adds Google is promising with Android L will improve enterprise security but they are still selling promises. They need to move past promises to improve their enterprise standing.
Google is swimming up a river that they've created themselves. David pointed to the device variations in the Google/Android world is one of the
"The Android upgrade cycle can't compete with Apple," David offers. "After all, look at the 60% of iOS 7 upgrades that took place within 24 hours." The upgrade numbers around iOS 8 certainly won't disappoint either.
"I don't see any Android tablets in the enterprise," David said. He sees a growing number of Android phablets and calls it the sweet spot for mobile devices right now.
While I think a post-BYOD future is still too early to call, I do see it happening in some enterprises that never factored in BYOD costs versus benefits or those, which might be technologically conservative.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.