BYOD: The Right (Digital) Tools For The Job – and The Person

My Desk - A Pick and Mix of Company IT and BYOD
My Desk – A Pick and Mix of Company IT and BYOD

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a disruptive phenomenon where employees bring non-company IT into the organisation and demand to be connected to everything.

70% of mobile professionals will conduct their work on personal smart devices by 2018 – Gartner

The need for people to have the correct tools to do their jobs has been part of management think since before the Industrial Revolution. Yet I’ve heard three examples in the past month about employers that are not fully embracing digital as a more efficient way of working.

  • An organisation supplied mobile tablets to staff but restricts them from downloading any apps from Google Play.  Social Networking is banned. So the staff (and customers) get about 10% of the benefits of this technology.
  • A Care worker told me her employer will not supply or support mobile devices with an internet connection. In order to arrange for her clients dog to be looked after during a hospital stay she had to return home within work time to look for local resources online.  (As a nice conclusion to this story – she found someone on a community blog who lives just around the corner.  They offered to walk and feed the dog for free – no thanks to the employer.)
  • A company who will not allow people to access work emails on a personal device. Certain staff actually do it anyway as they don’t like the company issue mobile devices.

The first example shows how we can still apply old century IT practices to new world technology. IT used be about security and setting boundaries. It’s now about facilitating and supporting connective curiosity across a range of screens and apps.
The second shows how out of touch some people are with how information is accessed.  Search is first. Phone is secondary. If you are sending people out into the community without a search facility you are essentially tying their hands behind their backs.
The third shows a total misunderstanding of the connected employee. Many of us are blurring the lines between work and play and we need connectivity that suits us – not the company. Your IT policy is not respected in the same way it was.

The days of  “standard issue” are over. Employers have to recognise they are supporting a range of colleagues with different levels of requirements and ability

So why are some employers resistant to providing the right tools for the job?

There is still a perception that equipping people with smartphones is expensive. It’s not , it’s a relatively small investment that has a return.

And , despite BYOD creeping into the office , many employers would fail to articulate their approach. The main concerns are about data security which, just like access to social media , can be managed with a mix of policy, training and education.

Let me talk about Bromford and explain the picture at the opening of the post.  Bromford encourage BYOD but also have an IT fallback option. I believe you need both.

How do I work? I have access to a Wyse terminal which means I can sit anywhere in the company and access all my files and resources. 

 I choose to have a company supplied tablet. But I don’t like the company supplied smartphone so I choose to use my own.

You don’t need a laptop if you have a tablet but I’m fussy so I use my own Mac – as I like its functionality.

I can pick up any of my work documents on any device through Citrix Apps – including word documents if I’m working from an Apple device.

IT protocols are in place about the precautions I must take on my personal devices and as they respect me , I respect them. 

It’s the perfect pick and mix.

Latest research from Gartner suggests that by 2017, half of employers may impose a mandatory BYOD policy — requiring staff to bring their own laptop, tablet and smartphone to work. I think we are a long way from that, particularly in the non-for-profit sector where many roles are lower paid and will require an IT fallback option.

It’s time to re-evaluate every part of your business and see how mobile solutions can be deployed. And that should start with the people who are out there serving customers. They should be the most connected people in your business.

But what do you think? How is BYOD and company supplied IT working for you?

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