Buzzword Bingo: BYOD

12 11 2013

Bring Your Own Device! That idea is simply out of any CFO’s dream. Employees bring their own devices to work . Yes, they may get some subsidizing, but at the end this is much cheaper and efficient for the company than buying devices.
In addition, all employees are also unbelievably happy, because they can choose the device they want and love, therefore this is a win-win situation for everybody.

Is it? I am not sure.

And what makes it worse, I have not seen any reasonably-sized company where BYOD is working. If one does the reality check, BYOD projects in companies quite often focus on mobile devices and tablets – but do people do their real work with these devices? Well, not really.
Most work is still done on a PC or laptop due to the much better input experience provided and most business relevant software is running there. Due to this, you need to convince your employees to buy a laptop and a mobile device/tablet to work with, which does not seem reasonable, either.
Yes, I hear you shouting that this is because the lack of business apps for mobile devices and as soon as these will come everything will be great.
If you ever have taken a deeper look at what the app frameworks of any vendor are able to provide with respect to functionality, you will be disillusioned.
It is currently (and in the foreseeable future) not possible to write sophisticated business apps or tools, where you need to cope with complex business processes and heavy data input. In addition to this, the deployment of any custom app (the one that should only be available to your company)  is ridiculously complex and expensive.
This is true, even if you are staying in one vendor’s device group.
The next thing is security. Companies do not want to mix their data with your personal data and vice versa. This point is not easy to solve and may require companies to buy additional software solutions (e.g. security containers) to protect their data.
Unfortunately, many container solutions are only secure as long as the documents are stored in the container. If opened by a viewer app the document lands unencrypted in the app’s cache or even can be stored somewhere else, e.g. on a Cloud storage location, which of course are built-in into a lot of today’s platforms.
And from there? Well, say hello, to secret services or anybody else looking for interesting information.
Due to all of these issues BYOD, in many cases is a CTO’s nightmare and I have not even really touched on system management (patching and maintaining the systems) or legal stuff.
Let us play through some scenarios. 
If your CEO’s phone is broken, will he go into the next electronics store and buy a new one? Will he be automatically able to connect to all important services he needs. I would like to see that – it might already end at the configuration of his email account.
Or, what about the accountant with the broken laptop. She has only time to renew it over the weekend. Shall all other employees wait to get their wages until she has replaced the device and installed everything?
OK, both scenarios are somehow extreme, but only if you live BYOD to the max, you will get the maximum benefit, or?
What always bugs me too, is that BYOD has been invented by information workers looking at their limited segment of the economy, where people are rich and can afford to run around with state of the art devices. 
In reality, this is by far not standard and therefore it should not be just imposed as the new way to do things onto the rest of the companies.
But, even looking at information workers, I have a feeling that “Gimme access to my PIM information on my personal mobile device”, is all they really wanted/needed. This enables you to keep in touch with what is going on and then you are able to turn to an appropriated device to do work as needed and be as efficient as possible! 
Those work devices, however, should be owned, handled and secured by the best  people from your IT-department, if you want to get enterprise grade availability, robustness and security. 
I really believe, if you are doing something else, you are giving away control over the value creation process in your company!
And this should be any CEO’s nightmare. 🙂






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