Many IT decision makers are increasingly feeling the pressure from top executives and other employees to adopt BYOD strategies, with one in two organisations intending to deploy formal BYOD policies in the coming months, according to a recent IDC study. An unavoidable phenomenon that has emerged on the back of the consumerisation of IT, BYOD is an example of how the rapidly-changing mobile world impacts business.
Vodafone Global Enterprise recently held roundtables with C-Level executives in four key global markets - Johannesburg, Mumbai, Sydney, and Singapore - to listen to the realities and challenges of BYOD.
In South Africa, all participants reported that they "tolerated" personal devices on their network "to an extent", but none had formally implemented a managed BYOD strategy. In India, BYOD was perceived to be more hype-driven, yet despite this, they were pushed by their organisations to better understand the issues and make recommendations on the actions to take. In Australia, most organisations cited that the driver of change was from top down, while in Singapore, organisations experienced strong pressure from consumerisation trends.
Across the markets, however, there was general consensus that while participants recognised the benefits of BYOD, a considered strategy that takes into account real costs and issues is much needed.
BYOD gives employees a high degree of flexibility, and in return can contribute to greater productivity and increased employee satisfaction. However, hidden costs can emerge which will eat into anticipated savings. Apps implementation, in-house device management and support, as well as data security, are also areas of concern that must be addressed.
Clear IT governance will help minimise the risks to corporate data in the mobile workforce, and a successful mobility partner will take into account its client's mobility strategy and unique requirements. Solutions prove valuable only if they tackle each organisation's own complex questions in areas such as costs, compliance and HR, and can be scaled according to changing, or growing requirements.
Some companies might find it more useful to adopt a hybrid approach - 'Choose Your Own Device' or CYOD - as the answer. Here, within a managed architecture, employees can work anywhere, anytime, on a defined selection of company-issued devices. CYOD allows CIOs to manage visibility, costs and data security, while achieving BYOD benefits such as greater flexibility, choice, and operational efficiencies. The IT department can more easily support a smaller pool of pre-defined devices than a wider spectrum of ever-changing handsets.
When choosing to adopt BYOD or CYOD, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The strategy must reflect the nature and the key business drivers of the organisation. An enterprise with access to scalable advisory services can quickly put into place a policy which will be able to reduce costs and ensure more satisfied and productive employees, in a fully secure environment.
Stevan Hoyle is president of Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa , Vodafone Global Enterprise.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.