In the grand scheme of things, the decision to allow employees to use their own smartphones, tablets and laptops for work may not seem so significant. From many users’ perspective, it seems self- evident that using their own technology for work will benefit the organisation.
But in the context of corporate IT, it is a huge shift in the balance of power. Analyst company Gartner recently described bring your own device (BYOD) programmes as “the most radical shift in enterprise client computing since the introduction of the PC”.
It means that corporate IT departments will not be in complete control of the next major computing platform: mobile. Instead, they will need to find technology, HR and legal solutions that balance the information security risks with the experience and autonomy of the users.
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To document this shift in action, Information Age presents below five case studies of organisations putting BYOD into practice. They describe their motivations for enabling BYOD, their technology choices and the benefits they have seen so far.
One common theme is that demonstrating a return on investment for BYOD is not always possible. All of the companies reported real and tangible benefits, but for many it came at a financial cost. BYOD programmes may therefore require organisations to accept user engagement and satisfaction as benefits worth investing in.
Another theme is that while Apple certainly bears much of the responsibility for the consumerisation of IT that lies behind BYOD, another company’s actions have also contributed to the current situation. Many companies revealed that had Research In Motion kept pace with innovation in the consumer device space, their BlackBerry- only policies might still be in place.
As the following examples demonstrate, there are a number of ways to approach BYOD technologically, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and CIOs would be advised to at least familiarise themselves with the landscape.
As Gartner puts it, “Every business needs a clearly articulated position on BYOD, even if it chooses not to allow for it.”
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