BYOD: The Mobile Shift Of The Business World

BYOD: The Mobile Shift Of The Business World
Summary: Bring your Own Device (BYOD) also known as Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT), Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP), and Bring Your Own PC (BYOPC), has created a lot of buzz in the business and technology worlds over the past year. The concept is that companies can save money by allowing their employees to use their own devices to access the tools they need to do their jobs.

BYOD: The Mobile Shift Of The Business World

Employees also benefit from this idea, saving time and getting more work done without the hassle of being chained to an office PC. BYOD has raised a lot of advocacy as well as skepticism. Some believe that nearly all companies will have a program by 2014, while others are questioning the security risks and the ROI statistics. The following article will explain the overall mobile shift of the world, how it ties into the workforce, and leave the reader to come to their own conclusion as to the effectiveness and future of BYOD.

In Edudemic’s “Mobile is eating the World” Jeff Dunn goes in depth with the growth rates of PC’s, tablets, and smart phones over the last decade.  His statistics show results that supports his provocative title (not literally). He explains how the Global Annual Unit sales of smart phones and tablets have skyrocketed since 2009 while corporate and consumer PC sales have either straightened out or fallen. By 2012 the annual unit sales of smart phones were over twice as much as consumer and corporate PC’s, while the stats for tablets and smart phones combined blows PC’s out of the water by nearly 400%.  He makes the point that mobile was always bigger than technology, however with smart phones and tablets the two have merged, changing everything.  In a survey of over 1,100 mobile workers who use devices for both personal and work related issues estimated that they put in about 240 more hours annually than those who do not. Due to statistics like these Gartner predicts that 90% of companies will use a BYOD plan by 2014.

If mobile is taking over the world why isn’t it implemented everywhere?

After viewing these charts and reading these statistics you may be thinking, “Ok so what is the problem? If mobile is taking over the world why isn’t it implemented everywhere?”. One of the problems is security.  Companies have a problem giving their employees confidential information on their personal devices. This is mainly for employment switches in the industry, when an employee goes from working for one company to a competitor. Also, companies fear that they may have an inability to control virus protection on personally owned devices. Tough problems to solve, however companies like IBM give insight to incorporate a very formal and strategic BYOD plan. Plans like this challenge company management to regulate their BYOD in a very strict manner. Even if it means excluding older programs or even excluding certain devices all together. Incorporating privacy policies and security software while maintaining a positive corporate culture can be very challenging. IBM advices to be reasonable with the software they have available, such as blocking personal programs that employees may have on their devices, while giving employees the amount of freedom they desire.

Another concern that I have seen is the return on investment for companies who incorporate a BYOD plan. It makes sense that they would save money by using employee funded devices. However, a lot of companies have already purchased office PC’s, and now need to spend extra money for IT support on these new devices. It may not be the same for all organizations. Everyone is different in the way that they provide their technology services.  However, according to a study by Cisco, the average company saves $1,300 annually for every employee who participates in BYOD. This study was based on incorporating their specific “ Comprehensive BYOD Plan.” The moral of the story, if you invest in a strategic BYOD plan, you will save money. If your BYOD plan is all over the place, you may lose money and security.

Can employees do their work on their own devices while ensuring company security?

So the real question here is not if BYOD should be the future or not. The technology and statistics are there to support it. The real question is; can companies control it enough for it to survive and be as personalized as employees want it to be? As well as; can employees do their work on their own devices while ensuring company security? The technology is there, but it may not be right for everyone. At least not yet.