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Some More Thoughts Regarding What COPE Means For Enterprise Mobility

Where has the day gone?  It’s been one of those non stop days since dawn.  Frankly, that’s the way I like it.  The workaholic in me can’t deal with “slow” days.  I’ve spent part of the last 48 hours fielding some great offline questions regarding my last missive around what COPE can mean for the enterprise struggling with BYOD and the Consumerization of IT/enterprise mobility.  I figured it might make sense to expand upon the last missive to add more color to my vision.

Let me start off by saying that this is not a debate of COPE vs. BYOD.  It’s more of a “to-may-to” “to-mah-to” thing.

The bigger picture issue is the (what seams to be) unavoidable trend of Consumerization.  This has been one of the biggest concerns for IT departments in the last couple of years, and as we all know, much of the discussion around enterprise mobility has centered around BYOD – the lightning rod of the Consumerization trend.

The problem that organizations are trying to figure out with BYOD is very simple.  How do I secure my company’s private data on a device that I do not own.  Countless blog posts (many here), webinars, speaking engagements, and panels have all come up with one common thread.  You have to create a mobility policy that makes the most sense for your organization.  That’s a lot easier said then done (I love playing Monday Night Quarterback)

Another common comment that comes out of these discussions is that your organization will not necessarily want all its employees to bring their own devices into the workplace.  Some will argue that there are pockets of employees in the workforce that should always have a corporate liable device.  I couldn’t agree more.

And THAT is where COPE comes in.

COPE, in many (if not all) respects is the mirror image of BYOD.  Notice how I didn’t say polar opposite.  Like I said before, BYOD is all about having/managing a (small) portion of your personal device that is set aside for work “stuff.”  COPE is all about setting aside a (small) portion of the device so that we as individuals can do what we want.  The similarity between the two is that the individual (the employee) got to pick which device(s) suit them best.  So why can’t BYOD even co-exist with COPE?

COPE is hence – in my opinion – the logical evolution of Corporate Liable devices in the context that, while BYOD may not be unavoidable (you can have a policy that bans BYOD), the Consumerization of IT and enterprise mobility most certainly is an unstoppable force.

One person on Twitter said:

The issue is the focus is too much on BYOD and not enough on enabling the user which is what #CoIT is all about.

Talk about summing it all up in 140 characters or less.  So the question becomes, dear CIO/IT decision maker, are you going to fight this kicking and screaming (and probably lose) or are you going to be forward thinking and embrace the opportunities that come from being a hero within your organization?


  1. Posted February 15, 2012 at 16:43 | Permalink

    Most companies will end up with a blend of models for managing mobile, depending on the needs of their workforce. For example, field or outside salespeople who are mostly mobile are most likely to have corporate paid mobile devices, whereas desk-bound roles will fit a BYOD model.

    COPE may be a good model for “coping” with consumerization in corporate controlled devices. Of course, employees are still free to have a completely separate personal device, so COPE doesn’t limit any options.

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  2. Posted February 15, 2012 at 18:24 | Permalink

    Couldn’t agree more – the focus is on enabling the users with the best devices available. CoIT has gotten us to this point, now we have to embrace it.

    Whether they are company owned, employee owned or whatever, users must be able to choose the device that they are most comfortable with. And like you said, whether COPE, BYOD or Door #3, we must secure the corporate data without hurting UX.

    Ownership of the device really doesn’t matter. In fact, once you add in alternatives like BYOD with company reimbursement, you realize that who owns it and who pays for it are just negotiable details. It is the Enterprise Mobility Management that is crucial to establish.

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  3. Posted February 18, 2012 at 00:18 | Permalink

    Consumerization and commoditization in enterprise mobility may have to wait for the saps, oracles, microsofts …in enterprise space to be fully available on demand on cloud…we are in an era where an fb/twitter plugin in any enterprise app needs privacy justifications. Looks like tomorrows apps need to be BYOD aware along with IT.

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    • Posted March 8, 2012 at 07:33 | Permalink


      Can you expand on your last statement when you say “Looks like tomorrows apps need to be BYOD aware along with IT.” What do you mean by that?

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