The emerging “bring your own” (BYO) trends are redefining the existing beliefs related to mobile strategies as CIOs evaluate the pros and cons of allowing the virtual version for the mobile device, cloud, and applications. For instance, the workforce of a customer-oriented business such as a retail store can leverage BYO to engage the clients in a pro-active manner as mobility allows them to deliver efficient and personalized services. Likewise, BYO can empower the consumer-facing workforce in industries such as banking, professional services, and information technology to collaborate better with cross-functional teams and customers through seamless internal and external networking.
Before implementing a BYOC or a BYOA strategy, it is imperative for an enterprise to assess issues regarding privacy, liability, security, support, and compliance. It is also important to evaluate how the IT department would regulate the initiative for a “virtual office” and how that would contribute to the productivity of the organization.
The BYOA Initiative
With a majority of workers using third-party apps to carry out their work-related tasks, the introduction of a “bring your own applications” (BYOA) initiative has become more of a necessity for organizations to drive business productivity. What is emerging is a paradigm shift in how employees are contributing to a business's growth with their innovative ideas and innovations, aided by their personal choice of software tools. As employees resort to using applications such as Dropbox and Evernote on their own device, enterprises are recognizing the positive effects of such practices even though there may be concerns regarding the security of organizational data. A solution to the security woes posed by third-party applications would be the creation of an in-house enterprise app store that offers approved applications to support a safe BYOA initiative.
How does BYOC help?
A recent trend is to “bring your own cloud” (BYOC) where employees avail public or private third-party cloud services to perform work-related tasks. The use of Software as a Service (SaaS) products is gradually influencing the modern work culture as the usage of file-sharing tools such as Dropbox along with document creation tools such as Google Docs are changing how people work. The benefits of encouraging BYOC within an organization include reduced capital and operational costs expended on IT services—cloud storage and other software tools for productivity. For instance, the availability of options such as low-cost SaaS applications is a key driver for a BYOC initiative in small and medium enterprises that do not have the budget for enterprise-level storage solutions.
On the flip side, the risks associated with accessing company information on personal devices may range from vulnerability to hackers to data loss. Although security is one aspect that may deter the BYOA/BYOC initiatives within an enterprise, a sound mobile strategy that encompasses mobile device management (MDM) is the key to regulate and encourage workforce mobility. According to experts, enterprises can choose to respect worker choices by monitoring where the organizational data is being stored. Enterprises also have the option of restricting software that might not align with their philosophy and encourage the use of business-procured software that can be monitored by them. Also, it is advisable for the IT department across enterprises to take stock of all the applications and cloud services that employees run over the network to ensure that the company’s IT infrastructure can support them effectively.