Ah, the day after Christmas. In some parts of the world, it’s called Boxing Day. In other parts, it could be considered a day of recovering from too much food…and perhaps even too much time with your family and/or in-laws. Side note: doesn’t that sound a lot like Thanksgiving Friday? Three sentences in and I begin to digress. In any case, I spent Boxing Day reflecting a bit on 2012 and all the changes that we have seen in the world of enterprise mobility. One of the things you will often hear me say is “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s along the lines of the other saying: “There are only two things guaranteed in this world. Death and taxes.”
If I had to paraphrase this in the world of enterprise mobility, I would have to include in there somewhere the notion that discussing BYOD never goes away. It seems as if BYOD is there at every turn. Got Apps? BYOD. Security? You need it for BYOD. World peace? That comes only with BYOD. I think you get my drift.
Then I stumble upon yet another predictions article. Don’t get me wrong. I like predictions articles, and there can certainly be no better time for them as we get ready to put an end to 2012 and spend the first few weeks of the new year scratching out 2012 on the checks we write and replacing it instead with 2013. In this ZDNet article, Kevin Gavin, chief marketing officer at ShoreTel shared a prediction that BYOD will become less of a focus for enterprises. Specifically, he states:
With employees wanting certain devices, but IT departments holding on to control for dear life, 2013 will bring a year of compromise. The practice of giving employees the ability to “choose their own device” instead of “bring their own device” will increase; which will satisfy security issues concerning the IT department and the desire of choice for employees.
I couldn’t agree more….with one major caveat.
I have been on my soap box for quite some time suggesting that BYOD is nothing more than people’s desire to embrace the consumerization of IT and then the IT department’s nightmare of having to manage all this. As you might also know, I have been a major champion of an alternative model I call COPE – which stands for Corporate Owned Personally Enabled.
At face value then, one might think that COPE and CYOD are the same thing. They can be….but not necessarily. Here’s why.
COPE and CYOD can absolutely be the same thing…assuming that the IT department doesn’t approach it in the same way that it approached handing out BlackBerry devices in the past decade. The Corporate Liable of yesteryear was all about controlling everything. The employee was given the privilege of having a device that allowed them to receive and send emails from a wonderfully portable and useful device. Too bad the user experience got old, especially when compared to those two up and comers….you know, iOS and Android.
I will argue that CYOD can be a complete failure for the workplace (and the IT department) if it is treated like the Corporate Liable programs of old. CYOD – done wrong – will only look like the IT department is loosening its (desired) grip. It will be like going from “you can have any color car you want as long as it’s black” to “you can choose between onyx, raven or obsidian.” (Psst: they’re all black)
COPE is about letting go (just a wee bit). COPE is about not just letting, but ENCOURAGING people to download Facebook or Angry Birds and creating that mobile stickiness. It’s like when an employer provides “free” lunch. Do you know why they do that? It’s not for improved employee morale….it’s to make sure you don’t go run errands on your “lunch break” so they can get that much more time out of your workday. By enabling a true COPE model, people will fear Big Brother less – there will be less animosity between employee and employer (at least in this regard) and at the end of the day….the employer gets more “productivity” out of the employee.
So as you and your organization begin to realize more and more that implementing a BYOD strategy may not be worth it (at least in certain key scenarios), you’ll want to explore other options (and acronyms). I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about CYOD, and I already know of some major enterprises that will be implementing COPE this coming year (Yay!!) Just make sure that when you look for alternatives to BYOD that you understand what they truly signify and what their impact might be on your organization.