Is the tide turning for BYOD?

By Alyson Edmunds mobility expert at Telefónica UK

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become a bit of a buzzword over the last couple of years.  It seems we have gone from focussing on the excitement of mobilising employees to the pain of managing privacy issues, protection of data and supporting a breadth of devices.

This is not just a UK issue; the global market has also seen the same seen challenges; even the USA which has largely been seen as a BYOD pioneer is seemingly falling out of love with this new way of working. An example of this is the recent ruling by the Californian Court of Appeal that companies now legally have to reimburse employees for work related use of personal devices, forcing many companies to do a ‘u-turn’ on BYOD. However, while this is an interesting development it’s one that I’m not sure will cross the Atlantic. Nevertheless it’s a good example of the changing attitudes towards BYOD.

One thing I have noticed first hand is that organisations are starting to question the big cash savings they thought they would see as a result of BYOD. I think many underestimated the hidden costs of the security and administrative overheads that are required to support BYOD, in reality many BYOD installations are cost neutral.

Does your support desk have the technical knowledge to support the wide range of devices and operating systems in the market?  Do you have the resource and relationships to interface with all networks for support issues? Do you leave the end user to their own devices? Or are you planning on rolling out to contractors and offshore partners?  – All crucial questions that must not be overlooked.

I’m not for a second saying BYOD and consumerisation doesn’t have a place in today’s business world, I’m confident that it does but I think now is a good time to stop, consider what’s worked well and not so well and redefine your approach to BYOD.

What I think we will see is an end to an informal, unmanaged and unrecognised BYOD replaced by a more formal managed approach. Organisations must view BYOD as a long-term strategy that is implemented and managed end to end. This starts with defining user profiles, implementing right HR mobile policies and setting resilient security controls. It’s important to remember that both capex and opex expenditure will be required to keep the service up to date and relevant, especially as we move deeper into a digital world.

What are your thoughts towards BYOD? Are you experiencing this change in attitude within your organisation? I’d love to know – get in touch with me on Twitter @Alyfairburn.