Embracing bring-your-own at O2

We recently implemented our own bring-your-own programme. We caught up with Andy Roberts, Head of IT Workplace at O2, to find out how it’s going.

It’s a hot topic, this consumerisation thing. As an employee, being allowed and empowered to bring your own device into work and use it at work, with access to work email, intranet and all the other things that frustrating until now, have only been available on work laptops and smartphones. It is something every organisation wants to be able to do. Here at O2, within three months of putting the bring-your-own policy in place, we had around 1000 employees using their own devices. And we’ve already seen an increase in productivity and employee morale because of it.

Letting people use their own technology at work has many benefits. By allowing personal devices to connect to our networks through the bring-your-own programme, you avoid the risk of this happening in an uncontrolled way. For example, within hours of the iPad 3 launch, we had one connected to our network. Luckily it complied with our bring-your-own policy, and so was able to connect safely and securely.

We learnt some things that you might find useful

First – you’ve got to get it right from the word go. Once a bring-your-own programme is in place, it’s hard to take back.  So it’s important to do your homework. We carried out research among other IT decision-makers and enterprise end users. And we asked our employees what they wanted from bring-your-own.

Secondly, you also need to consider the legal and financial implications. It’s important to be clear about who would be eligible to join, and which devices will be allowed to access the network. A clear bring-your-own policy will help make sure everyone knows what’s expected of them.

Once the planning was finalised, we launched a programme consisting of three schemes:

  • Secure my mobile device – Allows users to access basic enterprise services (email, contacts and calendars) on their personal devices. Software separates personal and business data, so the business data can be wiped if, say, an individual leaves the company or the device goes missing.
  • Plus 1 – For mobile workers who need access to a wider range of corporate services on their personal devices.
  • Bring-your-own computer (BYOC) – Enables our mobile workers to exchange their business laptop for their own laptop. Plus 1 and BYOC use desktop virtualisation technology that lets people move seamlessly between business and personal devices.

The rewards

We’ve found that people using their own devices are working more productively and efficiently. The bring-your-own programme is also helping us to change our organisational culture, as we support the workplace in a new, less rigid way.

Our people like having more choice, and they’re showing their appreciation through increased goodwill towards IT and a real appetite for the bring-your-own programme. Over the long term we expect to see financial rewards too, especially a reduction in hardware and ongoing maintenance costs.

To find out more about bring-your-own programmes and how O2 can help your business reap the benefits of consumerisation, talk to us or click here to find out more.