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BYOD: How to drive people-friendly adoption

Published: March 23rd, 2015 By: IT World Canada Staff

Telus

I recall years ago when my colleagues started bringing their own devices into work. It used to be that computing, particularly laptops, were expensive. The workplace culture was tied to desktops and individuals were not inclined to purchase laptops for work use; but then costs started to fall and more affordable devices started to appear on the market. The arrival of the iPad further accelerated this trend. As corporations’ influencers started using these new devices there was a desire to use them in a corporate context – the question was asked, “Why can’t I use my brand new iPad to access my company e-mail?” – BYOD was in its infancy.

Traditionally, to control costs, corporations would negotiate contracts with computing vendors to provide their staff with desktops or laptops and IT support organizations would develop procedures to support those devices. Corporations were not able to move as quickly as the technologically advanced and employees found it quick, easy and affordable to buy a device of their choice.

Corporations recognized the benefit of having employees provide their own devices to work from and also the security risks of having uncontrolled devices roaming on the corporate network. The sophistication of viruses, malware and Trojans evolves just as quickly as the technology they hijack leaving organization vulnerable to attacks from inside their network.

A number of organizations have adopted BYOD policies with varied results, and insights are starting to emerge on how to make the adoption of BYOD successful. The key metric of success is adoption of BYOD, which in most cases is an option for employees, not a requirement. In cases where adoption hasn’t been as high as expected, organizations are trying to understand why; and an emerging key factor appears to be that the needs of the employee have been secondary to the engineering of the BYOD solution.

Here are a few ways to make your BYOD program more successful:

  • Encourage adoption with benefits. BYOD is usually an initiative that requires employees to opt-in and is unlike many corporate programs which employees are required to adopt. Users will be looking for the benefits of joining the program so designing a program that is in the user’s interests will encourage pro-active adoption. Keep a careful watch for cumbersome restrictions and complexity creeping in which might dissuade users from jumping on board.
  • Test with a diverse user community. BYOD programs typically originate from within traditional IT or networking areas of the business. Users within these areas are comfortable with technical complexity but may not represent the rest of the employee community. Encourage less technical users from within the business to test the platform before roll out to spot issues early.
  • Watch out for over engineering. Do all employees require the same level of access to all systems under BYOD? If the majority of users simply want calendar and e-mail then a simpler solution can be deployed to meet the needs of those users. There is likely to be a community of power-users who will have more complex requirements leading to increased restrictions so consider dealing with that community separately.

TELUS has expertise in helping clients develop BYOD solutions for a variety of organizations in different industries. The specific needs of each customer is different but increasing employee productivity, controlling security risks and being successful in business are all common. If you have any thoughts about how your organization can benefit from BYOD, please leave us a comment or question below.

Nathan Roarty TelusNathan Roarty has over 15 years experience in client facing roles for internationally recognized Blue Chip companies.  Currently at TELUS Nathan provides technical leadership on the enterprise sales team.  Nathan’s technical background is in enterprise class IT and telecommunications technologies and services. He holds a number of industry certifications.