The Pros and Cons of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD)| 09th July 2014
There has been a lot of discussions around the growing trend of “bring your own device”, abbreviated as ‘BYOD’.
BYOD is being rapidly embraced in many large company cultures. Essentially, BYOD is when organisations allow employees to work on tasks and systems using their own personal laptops, mobile phones and tablets, both in the workplace and at home. This year it is expected that 80% of professionals will use at least two personal devices to access corporate systems (IDC) , so it really makes sense that companies embrace this social and technological move and are transitioning their culture and IT systems towards BYOD.
At Miituu, we advocate and are keen supporters of the BYOD culture - we designed our Miituu technology to work in harmony with corporate systems and ‘bring your own device’ practices. We believe that the work processes and practices are significantly enhanced and streamlined, to the benefit of both employers and employees, when BYOD working flexibility is pursued.
Below are a few of the pros and cons to help you decided whether BYOD might be beneficial.
If employees are supplying a proportion of their own tech equipment, there is an immediate reduction in equipment expenditure to the business. Companies can avoid a significant amount of short term capital equipment purchases and balance sheet write-downs.
In addition, when employees use their own devices, there is less requirement for internal IT and device training operating costs because employees tend to be significantly more competent using their favoured personal devices and are more adept at solving any difficulties. Also, human nature is such that we all take care of our own belongings, better than others, so it is natural to presume there will be savings in reduced wastage and breakage expense.
Worker Satisfaction / Tech Familiarity
Most people have a preference when it comes to their own devices. Apple aficionados will evidently be more adept in Apple technology, while Windows users will be much more proficient using Windows operating systems. It can become a tedious and irritating experience for any employee, when they are forced to learn and use unfamiliar systems for work and personal lives.
A rise in BYOD culture reduces the impact and productivity reductions associated with this issue and by enabling staff to use their personal choice of device, makes the work experience much more personal for them. Reference, John Stepper, MD of Social Media and Collaboration, at Deutsche Bank, who talks about this in a three part Melcrum video series about unleashing employee contribution.
Adopting BYOD policy, means that employees need to travel with fewer devices. This is a blessing for many professionals, who find it frustrating having to carry around a variety of devices (and associated charges) for both personal and professional use.
Employees who have access to all their work data, from their personal devices, can access their work anywhere, and what’s more is that they will have a greater tendency to do so, which will convert to productivity improvements for the organisation. This provides greater freedom and flexibility to employees, removes geographical barriers and makes doing work, for the organisation, more engaging.
And to balance the BYOD considerations - some Cons
Viruses, data loss and unsecure networks may present some challenges and security worries for organisations adopting a BYOD policy. Both company internal and customer data is critical to keep confidentiality in most organisations and inherently, this requires secure IT systems and good staff practices to protect this information and data. Cesare Garlati, Co-Chair at Mobile Working Group, comments on the negative impact BYOD can have on organisations security here.
Furthermore, when employees leave an organisation, it may be perceived as more difficult to control company data departing with them.
When employees bring their own devices to work, it may become more difficult to make existing company systems work on a wider range of device types. Devices that present different user interfaces and operating systems may not always run seamlessly with legacy systems, which can become a headache for businesses who may need to adapt / upgrade existing systems and programmes - so they are compatible with employee’s own devices.
The uniformity of systems may suffer to support this wider compatibility. With a variety of different devices, this can have a detrimental effect on the efficiency with which the tasks or processes in the legacy system are completed, which in turn may negatively impact on the company's productivity.
In summary, as with many choices in life, the choice for BYOD has some compelling advantages, but there are also some disadvantages; therefore, organisations should weigh up the pro's and con's of aligning to BYOD. One thing, that is certain though, is that there will be a continuing appetite for individuals to continue to embrace technology, in the form of personal devices, as this improves their ability to engage with others and do all the fun and interesting stuff they want to do. The opportunity for organisations to bite the bullet and harness the opportunity BYOD offers, in the work environment, is compelling.