It’s understandable why many companies are initially reluctant to embrace what’s outside the typical scope of what is considered “acceptable.” There was a time when car seatbelts were considered radical, when bars and restaurants allowed smoking and when working from home was a remote idea. But policies change. Common sense, one hopes, eventual prevails. What was once considered foreign becomes rote. Using a personal smartphone for work-critical tasks is now commonplace. Buckling up is automatic. Smoking indoors has been snubbed out.
As CIO, it’s essential to act as a conduit of change by revealing how a simple change in policy makes sense—in terms of cost, time and competitive advantage.
Certain ideas may at first be rejected, but as a professional technologist, it’s a CIOs duty to inform the board and fellow executives why certain policies need to change and why other initiatives need to be embraced.
Owen Wheatley, an ISG director, shared his thoughts on how BYOD has impacted how people work, how organizations benefit from its use and how it can increase business agility.
The concept of BYOD is driven by three principal forces: First, the enhancement of mobile technology capability; second, the rise of the “personal cloud” in which most major software offerings are now available via the Internet; and third, the changing expectations of users who demand the same access to IT performance at work that they enjoy at home, Wheatley said.
“From the employer’s perspective, BYOD is an opportunity to enable a happy workforce, make employees more mobile and more motivated, with the associated increases in productivity and talent retention,” he said.
So what’s not to like about BYOD? Given the apparent benefits to both employees and employers, there should have been stratospheric adoption of BYOD across all industries, yet as recently as mid-2013, less than 10 percent of organizations had implemented formal BYOD programs. In the last two years that figure has grown, but some reports suggest it is still no higher than 60 percent. Considering the obvious advantages to BYOD, that seems low. So, what are the constraints and what does the future hold?
The most obvious constraint is security, Wheatley said. When a device has a dual use (work and personal) the company can’t be sure that the user has done everything required to keep that device secure for business use, he said. Conversely, users have concerns about keeping personal data private. On top of the risk of personal device hacking by malicious third parties, BYOD also raises the spectre of data theft by employees, who may be able to create their own wireless network and log into corporate applications without being monitored. Concerns about data security and privacy account for almost 80 percent of those organizations ruling out BYOD as a concept.;