It’s funny to think back to when getting excited about technology was considered a tad on the nerdy side. These days almost everyone is keen on the latest in devices–particularly those of the mobile variety. Problem is, now that we’ve got the whole digital world in our pockets, we’d like to keep it there (thank you very much). This makes things a little sticky for reluctant business leaders, as the consumerization of the enterprise continues to hit them on all sides.
What’s even more intimidating is that the hype around the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement is really just the tip of the mobile productivity iceberg (I’ve previously discussed offshoots such as why your business needs a texting strategy and how to manage mobile workers, for example). And because it’s going to happen whether sanctioned or not, business leaders would do well to start thinking about how best to tackle the two most common concerns:
Companies have already tried to handle this one in various ways. Providing their own restricted devices has been the most common approach, but the success rates haven’t been anything to write home about. “Even if a company chooses to provide their own enforced devices, it is technically tricky and often counterproductive to deny access to at least company e-mails from unauthorized personal devices,” explained Raphael Ouzan, CTO and founder of Billguard. “Rather than forcing such limitations, companies should provide tools and guidelines adapted to popular devices in order to ensure the protection of its information. Security on mobile devices is somewhat still limited today, but standard procedures such as VPN access, setting up a pin code to access the phone and the ability to remotely wipe a stolen phone is enough to provide a basic ground of protection.”
IT professionals certainly have their work cut out for them regardless of any scenario, but one way to help ease the process is to educate employees about security and appropriate mobile behaviors.
Even if you have the security thing worked out, getting workers on the same page in terms of the actual tools is another world of pain. After all, getting people to use the same tools within the office is a challenge.
“While it is true that any worker could be pushed to implement newer applications, no amount of brute force can create an effective system of engagement,” wrote Art Fewell of Network World. “Every system and user interface that people enjoy and that drive improvement and productivity do so with an elegance that showcases just how intimately the designer knew the user of that application. And with millions of processes for millions of roles needing to be re-written from manuals and documentation into dynamic systems, it is time for executives to realize that success in the cloud era can only be achieved through a fundamental increase in human empowerment.”
Employees will always be the most productive when allowed to use the tools that work best for them. That’s just common sense. But if they’re involved in the improvement processes, regardless of their department, a system of engagement will form and can then be shared across teams.
A dose of good ol’ awareness seems to be at the root of both cases, and it is complemented with a helping of engagement. I think we’ll find this particular combination to be a reoccurring pillar of success as we move forward into the mobile/social world.
What kinds of pain points and solutions are you seeing in your own experiences with BYOD? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.