The underlying value proposition for BYOD in the enterprise is undeniable, and it is already having a profound impact on many enterprises. Today, the question is no longer if BYOD should be implemented but how it should be implemented, and what part it should play in the strategic vision of the enterprise.
Standing still is not a practical option
Recent Ovum research indicates that the BYOD horse has already bolted. In every country surveyed, Ovum found the number of enterprises using BYOD (whether planned or not), far exceeds the number of enterprises with procedures to manage its use. The time has come to catch up, realign management procedures and harvest the benefits.
The community has taken to personal mobile devices at a rate rarely seen with other technologies. In a 2012 report, the World Bank observed that mobile technology had arguably become the world's most ubiquitous modern technology. It is therefore not surprising that these devices have quickly found their way into the workplace.
Concurrent with these changes, other forces have been at play. The boundary between work and personal time has continued to evaporate. Work is just one part of the complex life we all lead. It is no longer practical to artificially separate the way we organise our work lives, and our private lives.
In our complicated existence, there is no longer a place for disconnected work and personal diaries, and separate mobile tools. Technically enabled workers are now clamouring for more productive tools that match the tools available in their personal lives. Against this background, BYOD is a natural fit. BYOD has become an irresistible force.
Many organisations have been experimenting with alternate solutions
COPE (Corporately Owned, Privately Enabled) is proving to be a popular solution in certain situations. This is particularly the case for a number of regulated industries, or for addressing the needs of some externally facing roles.
There are big savings for some types of work, if the BYOD devices can be used to replace fixed line phones, as well as existing mobile devices. In such cases, COPE may be the best policy as it provides a simple solution to practical problems such as: Who owns the phone number? What happens to client contacts when the staff member departs? Who ultimately decides conditions of use?
However COPE does have some significant disadvantages. For example, it is difficult for many enterprises to keep up with the multitude of personal devices on the market. Also, many staff are already locked into personal phone plans. These can limit the value of corporate phone contracts and the theoretical value of COPE. On balance, BYOD appears to offer a pragmatic solution that meets most general usage requirements.
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