As form factors continue to diversify, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is evolving beyond smartphones and tablets. Employees are demanding the same capabilities, flexibility and personalisation they get at home, putting IT departments under increasing pressure.
The very nature of BYOD is changing: it is not just about the types of devices in the workplace. Multiple operating systems and applications are adding to the mix, with IT often struggling to keep up.
At the same time, coherent enterprise strategies are lacking. While most employees prefer to use their own devices for work, BYOD comes with myriad issues. CIOs are afraid of losing control over corporate data, making complex security measures often necessary.
On the business side, the BYOD trend has legal ramifications, such as who has the right to the device and its data. On top of this, firms need to manage the security of company information if a device is lost or stolen.
Another barrier to the adoption of BYOD is the notion that users must bring all of their own IT. Businesses can not expect employees to manage this themselves; the complexity of support is beyond the average member of staff.
Therefore, the support desk is needed more than ever. However, IT must find time to deal with the deluge of requests on multiple devices and operating systems, while maintaining their day-to-day roles.
The good news is that today's businesses are in an advantageous position. The move towards consumerisation is about form factor - an element that is important to employees.
But is it possible to progress beyond BYOD and still offer choice and flexibility to staff? Firms must work out what the concept means to them first, and adjust their strategies to fit changing form factors and more mobile job roles.
As such, one option is to deploy 'Choose Your Own device' (CYOD), where the business allows employees to select from an approved list of devices.
But this strategy does not come without obstacles. If a firm supplies money to each employee for CYOD, the cost will ultimately be higher. Also, questions can be asked about who owns the device and the data if the employee leaves after a few months.
Therefore, the better option is to allow employees to select the type of devices they are using, based on their job role. With IT on board, employees can choose from form factors such as dedicated tablets and 2-in-1 laptops/tablets, as well as smartphones and all-in-one PCs, ultimately enabling them to do their jobs better.
For example, a salesman on the road could be more productive by using tablets; while web developers often require multiple screens. If users are given this flexibility, it is likely new devices will be welcomed and deployed with ease.
As BYOD continues to evolve, IT must respond to new form factors and operating systems while choosing the best strategy for the business.
Evolving beyond BYOD isn't easy; it involves tailoring each device to employees' needs and requirements. Firms that realise this and implement a flexible CYOD strategy can enjoy productivity and ultimately, cost savings as their employees become more efficient.