Tim Stone, vice president of Marketing for Europe Middle East and Africa at Polycom, explains how to stay ahead of the curve as more and more companies opt for a Bring Your Own Device policy.
Gartner predicts that by 2017 half of global employers will require their employees to supply their own device for work purposes. In the Middle East, BYOD is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace and a ‘mobility-first’ mind set is now clearly visible among Middle East CIOs. Regional organisations are expected to accelerate efforts over the next 12 months to transform their IT systems in order to integrate mobility solutions.
Whilst BYOD has obvious advantages for companies, most notably in reduced hardware, support costs, and employee satisfaction it is important to plan carefully for the company-wide implementation of any new working practice.
Here are my top tips on how to make BYOD work for your organisation:
Don’t resist change
Think about all the stages of evolution that corporate IT has passed through to reach its current manifestation. Mobile working is simply the next branch on the evolutionary tree. Resistance is futile. Mobile working is predicted to receive the second highest corporate investment of any company’s projects this year. In order to stay ahead of competitors, organisations need to look at how they can adopt BYOD to support this in a smooth and swift fashion.
Honesty is the best policy
When it comes to BYOD, ensure you have the right policies in place. Your employees are more likely to be honest about the way they use their device if you are clear with them about corporate expectations. If your staff are fully aware of how their personal device can be used at work they are more likely to offer constructive feedback on their user experience, and request support when something goes wrong.
Lay down the law
Policies need to be simple, enforceable and enforced. Before you write specifics in to your policy consider carefully whether your organisation can feasibly monitor this aspect, and whether you have the resources to enforce any reprimands or repercussions for flouting rules. One business standard is to ban ‘jail-broke’ devices from the corporate network or accessing corporate resources.
Stay smart, stay safe
Security is easily manageable across a BYOD enabled network, if you set clear standards from the outset. For example, it is prudent to clearly define which operating systems are permitted to access your company network. You do not need to individually list every version of software, but, by choosing specific standards you discount older versions. A simple way of doing this is to insist on operating systems which support encryption. Therefore your company data can be stored and accessed in the safest way possible, as well as limiting the number of software versions your IT department has to support.
And lastly, remember to bring your own personal device to work too to experience the true benefits of the BYOD culture.