Users or Devices: What’s the right BYOD approach?

The alarming Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has made for many funny and not so funny stories.

Did you hear the one of the CIO of the Canadian Revenue Agency not permittingApple iPads in his department only to be shocked to see many of this staff using them?

Or how about the newly hired senior executive who was forced to use a pad and pen for his first month on the job because the slow moving IT department hadn’t yet issued him a company notebook. And, then when he got it the notebook did not have Powerpoint.

Then there is the story of the reluctant CIO who does not want to put his neck on the line and rollout BYOD in case it fails.

Related Stories: How other countries are handling BYOD

BYOD inside the Microsoft store

All these true stories have led to slow adoption of BYOD in Canada. According to IDCCanada’s Krista Napier, 44 per cent of Canadian companies have no plans for BYOD.

One of the stumbling blocks for solution providers is which approach to use. Currently, there are only two feasible approaches: an end user centric and one based on devices.

The Vanson Bourne study on global BYOD adoption, which was released yesterday, confirmed that of the close to 1,500 global organizations surveyed that implemented BYOD that these are the only two methods being used.

So which one is right for your company or organizations?

Of those surveyed in the Vanson Bourne study, 70 per cent of organizations believe BYOD can improve their work processes and help them work better in the future – this is just 45 per cent among those disciplining against BYOD, but reaches 86 per cent among those organizations who took a user-centric approach to BYOD. Similarly while 64 per cent of all organizations believe BYOD can help them meet corporate goals more effectively, views differ by maturity; just 41 per cent of the least mature group sees this as true, compared to 86 per cent of the most mature group.

Napier told the story of a Canadian CIO who was struggling with the delicate balance of making employees happy and gaining a sense of control over BYOD. What this CIO did was engage with leading edge users in his company. Napier added most of these employees tended to be younger but not all were. The CIO would allow these staffers to test out new devices and apps and give him feedback on which worked best for the company. “This strategy enabled employees to feel closer to the company and the company end up getting better tools in place that keep other people engaged,” she said of the CIO’s end results.

Trend Dilkie, the vice president of information technology at Mississauga, Ont.-based solution providerGibraltar Solutions, said customers are getting “blind-sided” because staff is used to accessing technology for free because of the cloud.

“They want that same experience and it does not work that way for most companies because they are governed by rules. That model is not working any more and the challenge is how to you reign in all those things and still provide services that are on par with what’s out there externally,” Dilkie said.

The Vanson Bourne study concluded that by serving the user rather than just focusing on managing devices, organizations can reap rewards in the areas of data security and increased productivity, but also in the areas of employee productivity, customer satisfaction/retention and others such as reducing IT costs. Dilkie said one of the main benefits of BYOD is you push support costs down to the employee. “They take care of the devices themselves,” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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