“Resistance is futile.” That’s the rallying cry of your mobile workers and professionals, armed with their iPads and Android smartphones, all vying for access to your corporate applications and data. In fact, these consumer devices have already infiltrated the workplace. The introduction of personally owned devices can drive security risks higher, make integration difficult and wreak havoc with end-user support. But with a bit of planning and careful consideration, the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend can bring a host of benefits to your enterprise.
It may be tempting to ban the use of personally owned devices in your workplace, but IT policies that take a hard line are probably not be enforceable. As you might expect, many smartphone and tablet users will circumvent IT policy, putting the enterprise at greater risk. And here is something else to consider: You wouldn’t ask your employees to use mimeograph machines to make copies. Outdated technology tends to inhibit productivity and increase dissatisfaction—not exactly the environment that today’s innovative companies are striving to create, or that talented employees will tolerate for long.
So, how do you make this movement work for your organization? In other words, how do you allow choice while retaining control? You can take a methodical approach:
· First, assess users and your current environment, including current and planned devices and applications. A deep understanding of how mobility works today (or doesn’t) throughout your organization will help you get off on the right foot
· Use the assessment output to plan and design the right program for your organization -- one that balances the needs of your users (who’s in the field half the time, who needs access to CRM applications, etc.) with the constraints on your infrastructure and resources
· Kick off the implementation with pilots so you can leverage what you learn along the way while minimizing risk and business disruption. IBM has been building expertise and expanding internal mobility programs over time, tweaking as we go, and users are benefiting from the learning
· Establish, document and communicate acceptable use and other policies—especially to safeguard corporate data. Your legal department will love you.
· Plan for a more complex support burden. Although it seems allowing personally owned devices might make IT’s job easier, there will be more questions on set up, remote access and use of corporate applications and device problems—at least initially. You should plan to provide some level of end-user support in-house or outsourced to a knowledgeable provider, if only to help your workers remain productive and their devices highly available.