This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
I joke that I pay for two iPhones: my wife’s and my daughter’s. Until very recently, it was just a BlackBerry (News - Alert) for me, sadly. But there’s this idea today: bring your own device to work. What does that mean exactly? One thing we know it means is that this is the evolutionary process of streamlined and enhanced productivity. And if your organization hasn’t already begun preparing for it, you better get on it.
Think about cell phones 10 to 15 years ago. They were the cool and unique gadget, but their function was distinctly defined. They were either company or personal phones, and were only for making calls – just as laptops were only web browsers, and business applications were only business applications. And as much as people tried to keep those worlds separate, with the way the industry and the world have changed, the lines have blurred. Today, smartphones, tablets, etc. have a great deal of functionality overlap. There is minimal distinction between them, so there is chaos having so much unknown.
And chaos applies to trying to manage this environment. Vendors that sell to consumers want each device to obsolete the last, creating a pace that corporate IT groups cannot keep pace with. There is also a challenge for IT organizations when it comes to managing the data – your company e-mail and personal music and pictures are now on the same device – so whose data is it anyway? But while these tools may not be business productive today per se, they make employees happy and that, in turn, can equate with productivity. Individuals are communicating and collaborating better and faster on a personal level than corporate can do on an enterprise level.
So with all of this hype around BYOD, organizations need to learn to manage the middle, or bridge the gap between the consumer and the corporation. In order to make progress toward productivity, organizations need find a way to put security and storage structures around the permitted devices without limiting use. Because let’s be honest, your employees are also consumers. Understand them and you’ll better understand your customers. This is engagement evolution. Inward-looking companies have better understanding when it comes to ramifications around BYOD and make the outward connection to the customer experience.
It’s similar to the principles of unified communications: connecting and collaborating – on your customers’ terms. What has your organization done to adapt to this ever changing culture?
Edited by Jennifer Russell