BYOD – hot or not?

Bring Your Own Device a.k.a BYOD is the talk of the town. But what is it all about and will it change the way we use devices such as smart phones and tablets in our work environment?

There was a time when a mobile phone and the subscription was so expensive that you simply couldn’t motivate yourself to buy one. Unless you got one from your employer.
Time passed on and you were satisfied getting the corporate standard phone. Maybe you got a new one every three years with some added features. Lucky you…

Then smart phones were introduced. Now your corporate standard phone wasn’t so cool anymore. Some companies adopted to the smart phone era and introduced perhaps iPhones to their employees. Other companies started to use Blackberries to make their management become more mobile. These Blackberries were often so secured by IT policies that their smartness were severely limited. But still, most of the companies continued to offer standard mobile phones that were far from smart.
So people started to buy their own smart phones for personal use and refusing to have a corporate mobile phone anymore. Or perhaps they kept it just to be reachable. But having to carry around two phones…

Now smart phones and their bigger companion, the tablet, are so smart they can handle most of the tasks you need in your every day work. You can read e-mail, use your calendar, create and view presentations and documents, join net conferences such as Cisco Webex etc. So why be limited to the device your company has decided to offer you?

BYODHere is where BYOD come into play. Bring Your Own Device. In the simplest form it means that you are allowed to bring any kind of smart phone or tablet that you own and use it for work. It also means you are responsible for all the cost associated with that device. Service, repair, upgrades etc. Some companies offering BYOD even requires the employees to use their personal mobile subscription.
The company offers only to give you means to access the corporate resources in a secure way. This could be via an app on your device.
Inside the app – corporate responsibility
Outside the app – your responsibility

The corporate view
Companies offering BYOD will lower their cost for hardware purchase, support, repairs etc. If the employee is required to use his/her own mobile subscription then that will also save money for the company. Their cost is limited to perhaps the app and surrounding support.
On the other hand, they loose full control of what devices are used in the network. That is a hard one for IT departments…

If not offering your employee to use the corporate mobile subscription in the BYOD device – how will you handle the corporate telephone numbers? How will you handle work related mobile call cost? How will you handle roaming devices?
Seems like the employee will be stuck with a standard mobile phone anyway to handle work related calls and when roaming, you need to use wifi at all times.

The employers view
You get to use the latest hardware and software of your choice. As long as the corporate app is flexible enough to handle your work demands you should be able to skip bringing your laptop on many occasions. Working from home can be done easily from a tablet. If BYOD is introduced correctly you should be able to work more freely and efficient.
If the employer allows you to use the corporate mobile subscription (with a fixed data plan of course) you can skip having two phones. But maybe you don’t want to surrender your personal mobile number so this can become a tricky decision.

To me the issues are whether the corporate app (if that is the way you get access to corporate resources) is flexible enough to allow YOU to work more efficient and on your terms. This is the weak spot and could be limiting in the same way as Blackberry IT policies are.
Then we have the mobile subscription. Will the company let you continue to use your SIM-card in your personal device or not? I can’t see how an employee wants to use his/her personal mobile subscription for data traffic when roaming.

Personally I’m pro BYOD. But at the same time I don’t want to use my personal mobile subscription for work when I’m roaming. In-country I’m ok since my subscriptions has a fixed data plan. But still, it will not be the company mobile you see when I call you… But if they allow me to use the corporate mobile subscription, I don’t want to surrender my well-known personal mobile number either. Maybe call forward is the trick here. Or simply replace my Blackberry with a simple corporate phone for phone calls. Carrying around an iPhone and a Blackberry seems silly and it would save cost for the company. Sure, I will not get away from having to carry around two phones.

The end goal with BYOD should be that the employer gets to work efficient and more on their terms. It should not only be about saving money for the IT departments.
It is still to early to say BYOD is a success but it is definitely hot.





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