3 different takes + 1 opinion about BYOD

Lots of people – also internally in my organization – talk about bringing own devices to work (BYOD). On one side in some ways it is easier for companies – and me – to let me to bring my own cool gizmos that I know inside out instead of having to stay on the cutting edge. On the other side companies ought to provide the tools that enable you to get your work done and it must work sufficiently fast, reliable, and most important sufficiently supported. This will not be the latest candy-themed Android OS or the newest iPhone, but it still gets the job done.

Personally I’m not quite sure where I stand on the topic but three BYOD themed articles/blogsposts have caught my attention today – each offering a different view on the BYOD debate. I will share them here along with a few of my thoughts.

The user perspective
What’s my motivation? A mental model for BYOD” is a great post about how people have different motivations for wanting to bring their own devices to work. A very good starting point for a discussion as I have experienced that the BYOD talks quickly evolves into an arms race about features and specs – not about the underlying problem itself and this is in my opinion where you need to start.

The management perspective
The header “When BYOD Is a Productivity Killer” almost says it all and it did make me a little apprehensive. It turned out to be about how using your own device will make work seem more pervasive thus making it easier to switch off. The concluding sentence “Essentially, BYOD eliminates the free work that employees with corporate phones were doing.” makes me question if the author has understood the basic BYOD concept at all.

The bigger perspectives
Gartner offers a bigger picture and I have to say that I agree completely with their statement that “BYOD is not for every company, or every employee…..For the vast majority of companies it is not possible to force all users into a bring your own (BYO) program without substantial financial investments — and considerable support from senior management. It’s hardly revolutionary but there are some valid points and I believe that this is how we will see this trend play out.

Where does that leave me? Have I gotten any closer to form an opinion on BYOD? I’m not sure that this is about devices at all. It’s more about how work becomes more independent of time and place. Productivity and purpose will determine how and if BYOD will apply to your situation. One thing that’s 100% safe to say is that if BYOD is about “free work” – heck, if your company is even considering such a thing as “Free work”, no amount of gadgets will solve that. It’s about trust and respect and this truly IS the most important foundation stone of any BYOD initiative.


3 thoughts on “3 different takes + 1 opinion about BYOD

  1. One of the biggest issues is that nowadays it is not enough to provide your staff with a device that ‘gets the job done’. It should but it isn’t.

    Being given a company phone or laptop used to be a great perk. Not just because you could make free phone calls or check emails, but because organisations could afford and had access to better equipment. It was a moment of pride (in yourself and in the company you worked for) when you could show off your new phone that your employer entrusted you with.

    So giving them devices that simply ‘get the job done’, will results in people turning to their own devices, which are now more often than not better than what organisations provide. So BYOD for me is inevitable and will become a standard, with organisations focusing budget on solving the security issues and buying less but newer devices for top employees/senior management.

  2. No doubt that BYOD is here to stay one way or the other but I am still in doubt now much is hype and whether the development in enterprise systems will make BYO initiatives obsolete. More and more of the things you need to get done moves online and the minute transactions etc. takes place in your browser, I would argue that the BYOD discussion simply becomes a simple question about access – and of course security.

    If I am to play devil’s advocate here, I would say that if the need for bringing own devices is a result of what Chris from DWF calls ‘Status’ and ‘Geekdom’ we heading down a dangerous path. Status symbols and your job are closely connected but if I have to provide my own symbol, where’s the status in that?

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