According to Gartner, Inc., the increasing popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs is the most radical change in client computing since the introduction of the PC. The company goes on to state that even if a company chooses not to allow such a program, every business needs to clarify its position regarding the issue. The BYOD strategy is an alternative to traditional data access and applications execution allowing employees, business partners, and others to use their own devices for enterprise collaboration-related activities. Such programs, though currently limited to subsidies for smart phones and tablets, may also be expanded to include PC equipment and service fees.
“With the wide range of capabilities brought by mobile devices, and the myriad ways in which business processes are being reinvented as a result, we are entering a time of tremendous change,” said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “The market for mobile devices is booming and the basic device used in business compared to those used by consumers is converging. Simultaneously, advances in network performance allow the personal device to be married to powerful software that resides in the cloud.”
While BYOD programs are capable of reducing costs, once companies begin to add file sharing, business apps, and collaboration tools, the cost of providing mobile services becomes expensive. Gartner feels that addressing BYOD requires an approach involving policy, software, education, and control of an organization’s infrastructure. It recommends starting with a standard, generalized policy, built in conjunction with HR, that can then be customized when necessary.
“BYOD is not for every company, or every employee. There will be wide variances in BYOD adoption across the world — by geography, industry and corporate culture,” Willis said. “Most programs are at the employee’s discretion — they decide if they want to opt in. For the vast majority of companies it is not possible to force all users into a bring-your-own program without substantial financial investments — and considerable support from senior management.”