BYOD As We Know It Is Dead

Author

Egan, Bob

October 4, 2013

“Cell phones” at work are not new. Nor are smart phones. Many credit Blackberry for inventing the concept, but few would argue that Apple with its iPhone, more than other device created this explosive phenomena called BYOD – Bring Your Own Device to work.

Most of what BYOD seems to represent so far is an unbalanced equation in favor of employees. Employees may be happier because they can carry their favorite device to get company email, but it is not clear that employers are happy with the results. Keep in mind, that 90%+ of BYOD activities are email, calendar, personal banking, news, family life coordination, Twitter and Facebook, but little else.

In my conversations with business and technology leaders, many organizations are asking themselves if the fully loaded costs of ~$5.50/month/employee, in addition to any device or services subsidy, is worth it to the company.

If BYOD 1.0 is about employees, what might a BYOD 2.0 look like? 

What are enterprises looking to get out of BYOD going forward? With this in mind, I have been asking a lot of CIO’s, Directors of IT and other smart people what they think.

Once such person is Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie, a fast growing enterprise mobility company. Yaacov talks to senior executives around the world about how better collaborated ideas and increased productivity can take place via personal use of mobile devices at work  – and he has some pretty interesting insights to share.

1. Yaacov, how do we move from this Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) paradigm into BYOD 2.0, which you talk about as more of a “Use Your Own Device” mentality?

“Everyone has been talking about BYOD, which should be more than bringing their devices to work and then putting them to the side and saying, “Hey, stay quiet. Don’t disturb me. I’ve got a lot of work to do.” And they go to their laptops and do most of their work.”

“We want to change that. Business leaders are looking for change. The mobile enterprise and BYOD 2.0 is not about bringing devices to work; it is about using devices for work. How does business turn these shiny new toys into business tools?”

“That means allowing employees to work with customers, review contracts, write blog posts – do real work on mobile devices.”

2. Is BYOD a good idea in a practical sense?

“BYOD essentially means freedom of choice. Today’s IT professionals recognize the need to work with users rather than impose procedures and systems on them. BYOD is an expression of our world, which is becoming more democratic and more engaging.”

“We’ve gotten stuck on the infrastructure side of things. It is true that mobile brings a lot of questions about security. What happens if I lose my device? What happens if an employee leaves the company with sensitive records on his mobile device? We need to address these issues and then we need to move beyond them.”

3. What are the key business drivers for how enterprise should invest in BYOD 2.0?

“The primary business driver is getting work done. Business users do not want to compromise. The want convenience. They want to be able to do the work without being tethered to their laptops. People deserve and demand a great user experience.”

“There are other drivers too. There are growing worries about the high costs of data leakage and redundant licenses caused when business users ‘go rogue’. Employee use of unsanctioned IT resources that are outside the supervision of corporate IT is rampant. I worry a lot about the potential for U.S. businesses facing billions in cleanup costs caused by unintentional data leakage, and to use a Bob Egan phrase “the digital exhaust”. Let’s not forget the hundreds of millions more in redundant licenses that are likely to become more visible over time. It should be common sense that employees are going to use whatever they need to do to get work done. This will not change until IT and the business leaders sort out how to make enterprise collaboration services easily mobile accessible.”

4. How significant are Cloud services for BYOD?

“The cloud is essential to the mobile enterprise. Documents are still the foundation of business: spreadsheets, presentations, documents where I put my thoughts down or write business proposals. So we need to enable document collaboration at the office and on-the-go. Microsoft with Office 365 has done a terrific job of creating an office-enabled cloud, and vendors like harmon.ie bring full-featured, native Office 365 and SharePoint access to multiple devices – iPads, iOS devices and Blackberry.”

5. It’s not always about investing in new applications. Existing tools and solutions relevant too. True?

“Absolutely. I think mobility is not about introducing new tools that I’m not comfortable using. “I’m just doing it for the sake of being mobile, being cool, being a technologist. A lot of people are not ready to give up on Excel. Let’s face it. Some might like it; some might hate it – but can you live without it? Sometimes we end up switching between the means and the purpose. The purpose is getting things complete, not learning new tools.”

6. What are the top three best practices that are trending through your conversations with company leaders?

#1 – Enterprise mobility is the right way to go and we need to provide mobility to end-users. The trend is about thinking beyond the device and much more about using mobile to get real work done that drives revenue for a company and improves customer satisfaction.

#2 – IT needs to switch from being a gatekeeper to being a technology opener. It is not about chief information officer. It is about chief innovation officer.

#3 – Do not confuse innovation and disruption. Provide an innovation that is easily absorbable by your mainstream business users.

“Business users do not care about IT – and that is something that IT folks tend to forget. The last thing they care about is a name. They do not care if it comes from Microsoft or Box or Java, or from IBM, or Google. They care that they want to get their jobs done so that they can get home to do other things. The Enterprise IT has yet to deliver.”

In Summary:

If BYOD 1.0 has been responding to the needs of the employee, BYOD 2.0 efforts will focus more on the needs of where the enterprise and the employee intersect. Perhaps the most valuable key attribute of BYOD 2.0 will be to provide right- time experience (user interface + user experience) to the systems, solutions and points of collaboration that are mutually relevant to the company and to the employee.

Over the next month, I will writing more about developing and bringing very scalable, great experiences to employees – and to customers, through the mobile channel. I’m also planning more executive interviews. In the meantime, let me know what you think !

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