Today's bring-your-own-device (BYOD) employee isn't yesterday's road warrior, so it's time for businesses to put in place the structured support systems -- policy, management, and application access -- that align the expectations of the new corporate work style with its business priorities.
With more than half of employees paying for their mobile devices (and all or some of their data plans), and the lion's share opting for their device of choice rather than IT's device of choice, the traditional notion of imposing operations based on standards and stability flies out the window.
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The great influx of a diversity of mobile devices driven by the user is driving IT toward a more conditional approach to support -- with IT retaining the right to control cost and security while developing a new set of policies that allows some freedom.
Consumerization is akin to the fashion business; in both, change is constant. Therefore, it makes sense that companies need to respond by being agile and adaptable, even to unprecedented events. "Businesses have to establish best practices that transition as the market transitions," says Ken Dulaney, vice president for mobile computing research at Gartner.
Empowering this new breed of mobile worker and approach to work revolves around being proactive in the three key areas: policy, management, and application support.
Policies in the era of BYOD
Accept the fact that consumerization is driving businesses to rethink everything, particularly the balance of the relationship between IT and employees. Then it becomes clear why a "my way or the highway" corporate policy will not work.
Industry experts point to two aspects of policy to consider: provisioning and usage.
When it comes to the provisioning of devices, the good news is that with or without a BYOD stipend, employees are eager to retain the right to purchase their device of choice. A report from Good Technology found that half of the organizations surveyed with BYOD in place said employees covered costs for the device and data plan, while 25 percent of companies offered a stipend to encourage BYOD buy-in. A little encouragement apparently goes a long way, as a BYOD stipend bolstered adoption.