They are coming — the invasion of mobile devices has begun.
The four little letters that are keeping many a CIO awake at night are BYOC, or bring your own computing, aka bring your own device. And 2012 will be the biggest year yet for this new kind of mobility — where consumerism converges with corporatisation. An explosion of the next generation of smartphones and tablet computers into the workplace is set to have a significant impact on businesses.
Mobility is heralded as one of the great liberators of modern business, and, when effectively implemented, this technology is transforming businesses. CIOs, as business leaders, need to stay ahead of this technology, because BYOC is here to stay.
Some are resisting the infiltration of personal mobility devices into the workplace, but today’s forward thinking CIO needs to look beyond the myths and the hype when embracing the invasion of smartphones and iPads. This trend is more than a fad; personal mobility offers a unique opportunity to truly innovate beyond the matrix. CIOs, as effective leaders, should be embracing BYOC as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the pack, stay ahead of the curve, and enhance their business.
But how can you, as a leader, best utilise this change to most benefit your business? And what changes need to take place within your organisation to successfully implement BYOC while continuing to increase productivity and reduce costs?
Mobility devices have already changed the way many people live their lives, but securely integrating these devices into your workforce can be daunting; however, as business leaders, CIOs need to stay ahead of the mobility boom, and there are strategies to help you get ahead and keep you there.
The BYOC program
Implementing a well-structured BYOC program in your business will not only help you integrate user-owned mobile devices, but also increase employee productivity and independence, while lowering your IT costs, and providing business leadership with a new paradigm to innovate.
BYOC is clearly becoming more complex for businesses as mobility penetrates more deeply into their organisations
Managing potential challenges
The increasing number of mobile devices in the workplace brings with it some challenges; most importantly, how to manage these devices in terms of policy control and as information assets. The development of mobile applications to integrate these devices can become a problem or slow you down, particularly in terms of dissemination and contract compliance. Because of the speed of turnover with these devices, your technology refresh cycle will also increase. Formerly, a PC or laptop would typically need replacing after four years, while a refresh cycle for smartphones or tablet computers could be as short as one to two years. Ultimately, the success of your BYOC program depends largely on the level of management simplicity you implement early on and the overall maturity level of your business-IT alignment. Your staff’s compliance with policy and cultural maturity will largely dictate how quickly your BYOC program can be implemented, and its ultimate effectiveness. As effective leaders, CIOs must embrace BYOC in the workplace if they are to reap the potential rewards this revolutionary change has to offer.
The BYOC program is already creating unprecedented success for several tactical and operational business requirements, such as for disaster recovery and business continuity.
BYOC corporate programs allow your employees to work from the device of their choice, increasing individual satisfaction while lowering IT costs. Implementing employee-driven, self-service tools empowers workers to be more proactive, and, ultimately, more productive, to support the business’ top and bottom line growth.
Considerations for successful business adoption
ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE A centralised enterprise management structure should be implemented to manage these devices, both as information assets and in terms of policy control. The architecture of the management structure should specifically address enterprise management of mobile devices.
BYOC POLICY Implementing a pragmatic BYOC policy of acceptable use for fourth and fifth generation mobile devices as part of your governance, risk and compliance framework is a crucial step in your BYOC program. Before an employee is allowed to connect their device to the network, the boundaries of the policy should be clearly stated and understood by all parties, particularly the ownership and support of device versus the corporate data accessible through the device that will be stored on the device. At the backoffice, you should ensure role-based access control is clearly defined and is fully functional. CIOs should consider connecting with the legal, financial, and HR departments in implementing this policy.
MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT As the number and range of mobile devices increase, the management of these devices becomes increasingly crucial. Mobile device management should become an active part of your asset management strategy.
WEB-APP STORE CIOs can use their intranet to bring their BYOC program to life — and publish their full suite of mobile applications via an online Web-app store designed for employee self-service. Mobile application management is as critical to business as mobile device management, and providing simplistic self-service capabilities — both for application delivery and support — is vital. A well designed Web-app store not only provides the right model for IT to control mobile enterprise applications, but also provides the right paradigm for distributing applications. Commercial off-the-shelf mobile applications are preferable where possible, as developing apps in-house can carry higher costs and administrative overhead.
SECURITY Enhanced security is a primary business advantage of the BYOC program. Through the use of technologies such as virtual desktop and Citrix/ VDI where data is now safely captured, stored, used and disseminated, backed up, and secured in a centralised corporate environment. There is also a reduced risk of data breaches and theft, because sensitive data is not kept on individual end devices.
SOCIAL NETWORKS Many companies, particularly in the FMCG, mining, industrial and the airline industries, are beginning to use social applications to improve customer experience and relationship management. These new consumer-led growth strategies allow businesses to establish better connections with their customers and with trading partners. With adequate user-education, businesses can effectively use the media and social applications to disseminate company information — for example, internal blogs and discussion boards can allow BYOC program participants to post and reply to questions and even troubleshoot the challenges of other employees.
Get the basics right!
To implement BYOC successfully in your business, you must have the basics right. A healthy culture of policy and procedure compliance is fundamental.
Bruce Carlos is an independent CIO who specialises in strategic advisory on global takeovers, mergers, acquisitions and demergers. He has worked in diverse industry sectors including FMCG, industrial, logistics, engineering, defence, technology, e-business and consulting. Bruce is a founding member of the CIO Executive Council of Australia and former CIO of Raytheon Australia and the Victorian government’s Centre of IT Excellence.