Can Manufacturers Stop the BYOD Trend or Should They Even Try?
I just finished reading Chuck Robbins’ blog on the BYOD trend and its impact on corporate culture. In the blog Chuck cites a recent study on how most executives are still uneasy about their companies’ mobile data-access policies… and it got me thinking about how manufacturers are dealing with this trend.
More and more manufacturing workers are adopting mobile technologies into their workspace, and are growing accustomed to interacting and working in a more visual, virtual, social, and mobile way. In fact a survey conducted by Manufacturing Executive this year noted that 63% of manufacturing companies permit their employees to bring their own devices (BYOD) to work, but only 17% of manufacturing enterprises have a formal BYOD strategy with clear goals and objectives. Manufacturers are struggling with how to create, deploy and enforce sound enterprise wide security polices around BYOD. Protecting intellectual property is only half the concern. Manufacturers must also consider how a breach in security will effect the safety of their workers and environment, as well as, their products.
Although security is a top of mind concern for manufacturers, the promise of deploying a sound BYOD policy can not be discounted. Empowering employees and partners with the freedom to collaborate and access video, data and voice on an open, mobile and personal platform can produce a culture that drives operational excellence, supply chain agility, and innovation throughout the entire manufacturing value chain from the plant floor up through to R&D centers.
For example if there is a problem on the manufacturing line, an employee with access to the company directory on their personal mobile device can locate and contact a supervisor or expert using Cisco Jabber and then launch with a single click mobile Cisco WebEx mobile, where they can show the problem using the video camera on the device and quickly collaborate to solve the problem.
Supply chains can now become more agile and flexible, because customers and the enterprise can analyze, monitor and track progress from order through successful delivery in real-time. Data is now not just captured, stored, analyzed and delivered, but is now acted upon, presented and shared with the appropriate people and systems in real-time.
In addition, a May 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report found that two of five survey respondents said they would accept a lower-paying job that offered more flexibility for device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility. Crucial for an industry looking to retain and attract a qualified workforce.
Can manufactures continue to avoid the new BYOD paradigm, or are they just delaying the inevitable? Let me know your thoughts.