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We Really All Can Get Along With BYOD In The Mobile Enterprise

People often ask me where I’m based – meaning specifically, where I work from.  I usually give them a coy answer (I know, shocking!) that I work out of seat 7C on United Airlines.  That’s how I feel today.  I just got back last night from Gotham City and am off to Europe today for the remainder of the week.

While in the City That Never Sleeps, I had the opportunity to participate in an enterprise mobility event whose focus was on managing the chaos of the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) trend.  It never ceases to amaze me how this is, after two-plus years, still a hot topic in enterprise mobility.  I guess part of it is that, when you are in the trenches, you sometimes lose site of the bigger picture that people are still wrestling with what you might consider the most “basic” issues.

Beyond the fact that I got to do a kick-off presentation, I had the opportunity to moderate the closing panel.  We covered all the expected topics, including the mobile cloud, security, the platform wars, etc.  I did ask two questions that I wanted to share the panelists’ responses to.

Question Numero Uno: If IT departments have been thrown into chaos by the rise of BYOD, why not just mandate that you can not use anything other than what the IT department has sanctioned or provided you?

Answer Numero Uno: It’s just not a reality anymore.  BYOD goes well beyond technological issues.  It’s now a corporate culture issue….it’s an HR issue and it’s a recruiting issue.  Today’s top emerging talent has very different expectations of what can and can not be done versus the Old Guard.  (Heck, I think back to my younger cousin who didn’t know how to use a rotary phone that we had in the house!)  This top talent doesn’t know what life was like without the Internet…and future top talent won’t know what life was like without the mobile Internet. The rules of The Game have changed and organizations have to adapt…or die.

Question Numero Dos: In the enterprise mobility/BYOD battle royale between the Company and the Employee, who will eventually win?

Answer Numero Dos: They both win. Yup, you heard it.  Both.  The employees get to use their preferred devices.  They don’t have to use something that makes them cringe every time they pull it out of their pocket or briefcase.  They’ll actually end up using their preferred devices more than the devices they loathe.  And that’s where the Company wins.  Not only will they play more Angry Birds, but they’ll check more work emails…and respond to them…as well as use other Insanely Great apps that your company will have deployed.  That makes them work more and (hopefully) be more productive.  That’s a major win for the organizations.

So, it sounds to me that with BYOD, we actually can all get along.  Rodney King must be happy today that someone may have finally listened to him.


  1. Posted November 15, 2011 at 12:05 | Permalink

    Phillippe –

    Great questions. On #1-The reality is that IT departments have done this with corporate assets in the enterprise and the user community continues to find ways around it (just look at the number of users with Admin rights to their machines). On #2 -Agreed – The way to win is to allow users Freedom with Control that follows standard ITIL processes just like the rest of IT. You might get a better idea at bfay

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  2. Posted November 15, 2011 at 15:41 | Permalink

    Having deployed and supported a BYOD program the past year or so I find that a large percent of your employees have no desire to use their personal technology at work.

    This works great in industries with little security & compliance controls as well smaller companies.

    - Employees want nothing to do with security enforced on their device. They don’t want a password, timeout and things “monitored”.

    - Employees don’t want to pay for anything. They expect us to pay for their data plan, tethering etc. Ummm it’s called personal liable. If we wanted to foot the whole bill we’d just stay 100% corporate liable.

    - Choice really doesn’t matter. We support BYOD iOS, Android and Blackberry and the mix is only slightly higher for iOS.

    - Employees expect 100% tech support for their device.

    - You need to spend a lot of time marketing and educating employees about the program. Once many understand your not paying for their usage / enforcing security they lose interest.

    At the end of the day you have created a great BYOD program, have all your policies in place and find you have 100 employees adopt it. The CBA is out of whack and management asks why are we doing this again? I understand it will take time in some companies as culture is the bigger nut to crack. It’s not really a technology issue.

    Reality for many companies is you will still have a sizable corporate liable mobile deployment. For all the reasons noted. I’d hate to see a company that decides to only provide mobile support for those that pay for it. That would stunt any efficiency / productivity gained by mobilizing the workforce.

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    • Posted November 15, 2011 at 17:01 | Permalink

      MobileAdmin – Can I ask you what industry this was in, because (while I certainly don’t doubt you) it flies in the face of everything else I am seeing and being asked about.



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