I’ve been to BriForum London this year and one of the sessions I attended was led by Claudio Rodrigues and Louise Taylor with the subject of BYO(D). The first thing that was mentioned was that the concept of BYOPC isn’t up to date anymore. It should be BYO or BYOD. Claudio even questioned if it should be Bring your own device or Buy your own device, he did a lot of interviews with customers and they said that most of them provide budget to their employees to buy a device to bring to work.
After this clarification he proceeded by saying that BYOD brings technical challenges and legal challenges and that it’s advisable that the legal challenges should be tackled before you can start with the technical challenges. The legal challenges for example are ownership, of the device but also the data containing it. When using the BYOD concept as a company you don’t have to own the device but you do have to enable users to do their work. You can’t wipe machines remote when an employee leaves the company and uses a BYOD, so security and company policies are semi-legal challenges as well.
Some practical challenges are clear as well, when the devices are delivered via the internal IT department you can have the tax benefits that your company can use (at least that’s what happens in the Netherlands).
My employer is currently looking to renew the mobile phones and one of the most heard complaints is that we didn’t have the possibility to select a device with specifications that matched our own needs with the old phones. It’s clear that everybody has different needs and expectations of the devices they work with so why would you even bother to go to all of the hassle selecting one phone (or device even!) when you can let your users choose.
So that’s what my employer did. They selected 6 phones with WP7, Android and iOS and having different specifications and let us (their users) choose our own device. This way the device is still company owned with all the traditional benefits but the users still have the possibility to choose (within those limitations) their own device. When I heard about this concept I called it Choose Your Own (CYO). My IT guys will support all of the phones but you can see that there’s room for a more hybrid model in which you can support one or two devices and offer limited or no support for the other devices and now we’ve used this concept for our phones why not use it to replace laptops, desktops and other devices. Just create a list of devices that are commonly used and make sure you support one or two models of this list. This way you can achieve the ‘choose your own’ model, keep your users satisfied (because consumarization of IT is happening)
There can be some limitations for users in this model, the model introduced by my employer provides a choice but it’s still limited to 6 models. Of course this can depend on the choice of support for different models but with a larger range of models you will get fewer discounts because of the limited number of devices ordered.
With the COY model you can’t do with the device what you want, it still is a company owned device but with some simple rules you can deliver freedom in usage. An example is that when you need support the first thing the IT department will do is reset the device to factory defaults.
The legal challenges explained earlier are no longer applicable because of device and the data on it being owned by the company. You can’t wipe machines remote when an employee leaves the company and uses a CYO, so security and company policies aren’t semi-legal challenges with this model. It’s no different than the traditional model of device deployment because the device is owned by the company.
BYO/CYO is an interesting trend to watch but the current growth is limited because of legal issues or tax issues. The IT infrastructure and users are ready for it!
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