The phenomenon of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has definitely become a top of mind issue for CIOs and end-users alike. No discussion in IT circles is complete these days without this topic coming up. IDG says that as many as three quarters of the workforce in Asia already engage in some form of BYOD with 66% of Asians owning at least one smart tablet device. Clearly, this is changing the way we work, live, play and learn. The big questions for the community are:
- Is BYOD here to stay?
- How do we maximize this trend
- What are the things to look out for?
According to the latest Cisco Connected World Technology Report, between
29-47% of respondents across India, China, Japan and Australia prefer to be able to bring and use their own device in the workplace. Being able to do so generally leads to greater employee satisfaction, higher productivity, and stronger retention rates. And we all know that motivated employees produce better results.
This empowerment also gives them greater flexibility and choice on where and how to work, especially with many employees in the Asia region becoming increasingly mobile. BYOD gives them the power to balance their workloads and meetings particularly when they are on the road and of course, enables them to achieve a better work-life balance.
Let’s now examine the impact on customer satisfaction, which is absolutely key to being competitive in fast growing markets like Asia. Empowered employees equipped with the right tools make decisions faster resulting in an enhanced customer experience and shorter turn-around times. Singapore-based luxury car dealership Cycle & Carriage believes that its BYOD program has led to improved productivity and a better overall customer experience.
BYOD layered with the right applications helps employees become much more collaborative with customers, partners and geographically dispersed teams. With the capabilities of devices and applications (e.g. Cisco WebEx and Jabber) employees choose the best from of collaboration depending on the situation ranging from voice, video, IM, social media from anywhere anytime. Being able to have a HD Cisco TelePresence meeting with anybody using any device from anywhere (be it home, beach, taxi, coffee shop or hotel room) is very powerful.
We can safely assume BYOD is here to stay and how it can be used to maximise benefit for the organisation, for employees and for your customers. What do you need to look out for now to ensure a smooth and successful deployment?
Some of the considerations, and this list is by no means exhaustive, include:
- Security – do you have the right security systems and policies in place to ensure your critical information assets are protected?
- Cost – while initial capital costs might be lower, watch for on-going operational costs.
- Network access – do you provide your employees with the right blend of wired, wireless, and remote VPN access platforms?
- Culture – are there cultural sensitivities you need to watch for?
- Policies – do you have clear and well-communicated policies to guide your employees?
- Applications – do you have the right tools and applications that run across multiple devices to ensure your employees maximise the potential of BYOD?
Most of these issues can be sorted with a clear architectural approach that begins with your network and IT systems design and creating well-defined guidelines. Employee engagement is also key in helping create the right culture and policies.
The bottom-line is that BYOD is here to stay and deployed appropriately, can truly create a positive impact for companies. Let’s embrace it and enhance the way we work, live and play in this mobile world.