Thursday, 10 November 2011

BYOD 1 – What is, why trend

Can BYOD be all things good? I would say; yes for the individual hip young guys but in general; no.

I have been thinking a couple of weeks about BYOD. Right now I cannot really say; yes, I like it and it’s the future – hurrah!

First; this article will be more on a philosophy and maybe even on a political level. Some might even call me bad things. It is based on how society’s and employment works and I know it differs a lot between countries, definitely Sweden versus the US. Since being Swedish I’m more familiar with the Swedish society and if I fail trying to put this on an international level I apologize. The main purpose is to look at BYOD from another perspective and not to discuss societies and country rules and laws. Neither will I focus on technique nor how software works. It is about the trend BYOD.

The article is build up in three parts. In the first part I will focus on what BYOD is and why it has become a trend. The second part will be about for whom the trend is available for and has a relevancy in a 1-5 years perspective. Third and last part will be about when the possibility becomes a demand and have a relevancy in a 5-15 years perspective, maybe even less.

What is

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is what it says; you can bring your own device and this to your work. It started with BYOC (bring your own computer) but today we have pads, smart phones and computers so Device wraps it up better. The own device can be your true own device and it can be sponsored or loaned from your employer. When sponsored the employer gives you x amount of money to buy the computer equipment you want and need. When loaned the employer loans you x amount of money to buy the computer equipment you want and need. Beware of; who owns the device if you end your employment; taxes if your government counts it like benefits above your salary. BYOD is about to use the computer/device you want and fits your needs best.

For the employer BYOD means they have to solve compatibility issues and license agreement rules when delivering the IT services to different communication links, operating systems and devices, owned by other than the company. Some functions and systems to be considered:

- Storage and security solutions to store company and user data
- Security to be sure connecting devices and users are the correct ones. Attacks might increase because of BYOD
- Virtual desktop solutions to provide IT services to multiple device standards
- Orchestrator-tool to support and manage all the different devices

And they all have to be excellent.

The trend

Well, is it a trend? Yes, definitely.

I really don’t know why BYOD has become a trend and why people really want to bring their own device to work. Is it only the choice of freedom that calls or is it an underlying lobby organization making the call. Well, in some way it is true but the “organization behind” spells consumerization and the explosion of tablets. Consumerization is when consumers bring trends and technique to business instead of the opposite. The BYOD trend should really be ascribed to Apple and as Victoria Barret says; “thanks Apple”.

Victoria Barret, Forbes, ‘Thanks Apple: The B.Y.O.D. Trend

“This might be what makes the B.Y.O.D. short-hand so apt. It is like a B.Y.O.B. dinner. Your IT department will supply the meat and potatoes (think chunky, salty ERP systems), but if you want to have a really good time, you’re left to your own devices.”

I would say the trend has evolved and emerged because of Apple and young people born in late 80’s and early 90’s. Young people who love the choice of freedom and who definitely love Apple, which many employers don’t, or haven’t implemented. Remember these users are the early adaptors and should really be handled with respect. They represent present and future users and leaders. If they continue loving the choice of freedom or gets “boring” when they grow older, like me, we will notice. But they are the influencers of BYOD and many things right now and next x0’s will probably inherit their strength. To the young people’s influence add social networking that are easy to use on pads and smart phones. Social networking you want to bring with you everywhere even to work. So thanks Apple for the BYOD trend, whether you like it or not.

My point

Personally I’m really not that keen bringing my own devices to work with. One of many reasons is because I’ve paid for it and no one has told me my salary should go to working equipment’s. But hey, I’m 41 years “young” so maybe I’m not the primary target. Anyway, some might say; “but you wearing your own clothes”. I am not going in to that discussion…

It might be like Victoria Barret says, or maybe; you might feel so. You want to use cooler or better devices than your employer can offer. Or maybe; you want to use Mac’s and almost every employer offers Windows PC’s. And maybe; you want to use a tablet or smartphones but your employer only uses PC’s and standard phones/mobiles.

As an employee you can always ask yourself; are you responsible for making meat and potatoes or making really good times?

As an employer you definitely should ask; how can we attract good people? Offer attractive devices or go for the BYOD? Should we give the employees really good times even if they only should make meat and potatoes?

What happens if employer offers more attractive devices i.e. iPad’s, Galaxy’s, iMac’s etc.; will the BYOD trend drop dead?

What happens when vendors only sell one hardware and one license instead of two; will the BYOD trend drop dead?

Reading articles

I have read about 10-15 different BYOD-articles the last couple of week, some of them sponsored. I would say all of them either praises or tell us “think about’s” about BYOD but no one questions the concept. Here are some examples.

Citrix BYO -

"Trying to cope with the flood of personal and non-traditional devices at work? You don’t need an IT floodgate. Embrace employee-owned devices. Rising employee expectations, virtual workstyles and limited IT budgets all require a radical shift in business processes.”

Basically Citrix virtual desktops/apps with a BYOD touch.

Gartner in there ‘Gartner Report BYOC checklist’ (you have to register)

“Key Findings
The benefits of an employee-owned notebook program include freedom of managing nonstrategic assets; more time for IT staff to focus on high-value, high ROI initiatives; a more attractive workplace to attract new hires; and increased user productivity.

Lots of embracing and great recommendations but…no critique. And Gartner is in contrast to Citrix an analytics company. Of course this is a guide so no real analyze about BYOD itself, and it is a really good guide everyone should read before even thinking about a BYOD roll out.

Charles Bess, Enterprise CIO Forum, ‘Are there 5 top reasons CIOs should allow a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy?

“I was reading a post from one of the security experts at HP titled: Top 5 Enterprise Security Challenges with "Bring Your Own Device." When it comes to allowing employees to use their own devices at work, there are some real support, data control and security issues, but the blog post made me wonder: Are there 5 top reasons CIOs should encourage a “bring your own device” policy?”

Bringing some issues up…but drops them a bit too easy.

Jeffrey Burt, eWeek, ‘HP Unveils Business Services for Mobile Applications

"HP and its rivals, including Cisco System and Juniper Networks, are rapidly rolling out solutions to help businesses deal with the growing BYOD trend, which has been fueled by the rising use of Apple iPhones and Google Android-based smartphones and, more recently, tablet PCs driven by the popularity of Apple’s iPads. The trend is toward greater use of mobile devices, and a greater demand by workers to use their own devices—rather than ones issued by employers—to access the corporate network.”And so it continues. Of course companies developing devices and management tools can’t speak negative – this is business. But I’m a bit confused about the general “fresh” attitude from journalists and analytics.

A good one about challenges with BYOD by Paul Schwartz, HP, which Charles Bess refers to: ‘Top 5 Enterprise Security Challenges with "Bring Your Own Device"’, here’s one of them:

5. Who pays? – enterprises need to decide who should pay for the mobile device, who pays for data charges, and who should pay for business related apps. Data charges while roaming abroad can be particularly significant.”

I will end up with a great debate between Ken Hess and Heather Clancy on ZDNET called ‘Reality vs Pipe dream

Ken Hess: “Almost everyone owns an advanced phone and a laptop, netbook or tablet, so why not allow employees to use those devices in corporate work environments? Bring your own device is a new strategy being used by or considered by corporate IT departments. It allows employees to use devices with which they're comfortable and at a lower overall expense to the employee's company. It's an intelligent change in the corporate landscape to lower the costs associated with acquiring, deploying and maintaining devices, to reduce the number of required support personnel, and to decrease the possibility of single vendor lock-in.”

Heather Clancy: “Be honest: Do you want someone telling you what you can and cannot do with your personal technology? BYOD seems like a great idea for productivity, until you try manage it.


Is BYOD the future? Might be but watch out for the possible consequences. Will it be available for more people than the young and “cool guys”? And what happens when the BYOD becomes an employer’s demand? Might be scary. Watch out for my upcoming posts about BYOD.

Meantime; if you consider a BYOD roll out program read Gartner’s ‘Gartner Report BYOC checklist’

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