The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon is not a phenomenon; it is a culturally- and technologically-driven human behaviour trend.
The trouble is, the global marketing machine prefers to use one over-emphatic word rather than seven realistically descriptive ones… so phenomenon it must be, by and large.
The age of corporate IT control is over
BYOD has now come to mean that the age of corporate IT control is over.
The executive in the field no longer takes his or her standard issue laptop and/or other device and abides by the wider scope of rules and policies laid down by the IT directorate. Previously, the height of individuality was installing a couple of your own applications and changing your screensaver — that time has gone.
As we all know, the upshot of BYOD reality is that we have to now affect some control over the workers who have, in very real terms, brought their own. But does this control have to be totally coercive and draconian from the get go? Can we work (more productively perhaps) towards something more even handed?
In other words, what is a “flexible and inclusive” BYOD strategy and how is it made practically and pragmatically possible in the real world?
Flexible and inclusive BYOD?
Setting usage policies is good, but we can do more and start further back down the food chain. We can also think about designing corporate applications so that they are fashioned to meet the needs of a BYOD world from the outset. Making sure this design approach straddles cross-platform operating systems is just one element of creating a flexible and inclusive BYOD strategy.
BYOD evangelists talk about the importance of creating a “vendor neutral applications portfolio” with a future-proof architecture and rightly so. Let us remember that BYOD itself (as a phenomenon no less) is brought about (very often) by the fact that IT has not provided an adequate level of applications and/or device functionality to workers, so they will find their own preferred means of computing — and this often means BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) also comes into the mix.
Intel reminds us that a decade ago, Wi-Fi was considered a new, disruptive technology… but today, it has become the computing norm. Consumerization and BYOD usage is on a comparable path.
The company reminds us that an important aspect of our changing workforce is age. Workers from Generation X, Generation Y, and beyond grew up using technology. In fact, college graduates of 2012 have never known a world without the Internet. This means we need to be not just flexible and inclusive in our approach to BYOD, we must also be sympathetically age-aware with our BYOD strategy — it won’t be simple.
According to Intel, many devices based on Intel technologies offer built-in management and security capabilities that help IT troubleshoot and remediate devices remotely, even if the operating system is not functioning.
“With hardware-assisted security features, you can gain added protection for users and corporate data that goes beyond what software-only solutions can provide. These added security capabilities deliver intrinsic support and peace of mind to organizations that are managing consumerization,” wrote Intel, in a recent white paper.
Intel advocates engaging end users and key stakeholders in technology discussions early on, so that we can gain a better understanding of the “desired computing experience” as the company puts it. What experience is the employee after, exactly? What are they using the technology for?
In the modern world of BYOD end-user computing, most enterprise operations have traditionally taken a “device-centered approach” and this worked okay in an age when employees were using only employer-provided desktops. If we fail to shift our focus from devices to a “user-centred approach” then we will fail in our attempt to create a flexible and inclusive BYOD strategy.
This post is sponsored by itcenterconnect.intel.com