Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is all the rage! The reason has to be the iPad (and other tablets?). It can’t be that smart phones are all of a sudden causing IT Execs to have sleepless nights. They have been around long enough for companies to have figured out how to manage the company supplied vs BYOD challenges. However, tablets introduce a whole new challenge. And, if an iPad is OK, why not a MacBook Air or equivalent?
ZDNet’s Great Debate Series presented by Ricoh recently did a superb job of digging deep into the pros and cons of BYOD. The argument was framed as “It’s a smart and easy transition” vs “It’s a management nightmare!” Not surprisingly, the audience voted strongly in favor of BYOD being a nightmare for IT managers (66% vs 44%). I came across another piece of content that made BYOD look like it could become the biggest project of the year (decade?) for many! Writing for the IT Service Management Forum Official Magazine, “At Your Service,” Karen Ferris, Director of Macanta Consulting Pty Ltd uses the headline “A 4-Letter Acronym Sending CIOs Running Scared – BYOD.”
As one of the “Great Debaters,” Heather Clancy says,
“Don’t expect to save money, either. Many businesses supporting BYOD expect employees to buy and support devices on their own dime. But infrastructure and security policies need to be rock-solid behind that. This takes investment and new IT management policies. Is your organization ready?”
Clearly this is going to take a lot of work. But, guess what? Resisting it may be the most counter-productive step that an organization ever takes. Consumerization is with us today. IDC recently conducted a survey of the IT consumerization gap on behalf of Unisys. The survey found that consumerization is well underway and that the gap between what employers believe and the viewpoint from employees is widening. The survey shows that employers underestimated BYOD by a whopping 50%.
Central to what IT Execs need to address what I consider to be an opportunity, is a consistent way to manage all BYODs. Yes, this will require a policy that clearly dictates the conditions under which a BYOD can be used in the workplace. The management system must be capable of ensuring that each BYOD automatically and regularly reports its pertinent information. Ideally, this information should be combined with and subject to the rigors of the company’s IT Asset Management system’s risk detection services. With this in place, together with the required policies and procedures, BYOD promises to bring substantial advantage to those organizations that embrace the rage.