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BYOD – just a few years ago this abbreviation would likely be interpreted as “Bring your own drink”, and very likely it would not be used very often in corporate setting.

Today these four letters bring largest opportunities to the enterprises, together with some challenges to be addressed. Every country, every industry considering this concept, brings own very specific challenges and considerations. 

Why this topic became so critical?  Personal needs  these days are becoming more and more interconnected with business requirements, and explosion of mobile technology made this connection very apparent. At work, we are more connected, then ever,  to our family and friends. After work we remain connected to the business. Mobile technology makes us accessible at any place, any time (cross out North and South Pole and few other places on this planet which are still waiting their turn to accept new cellular towers).

At the same time, technology impact on the productivity is higher then ever. Smartphones and tablets allow us to stay productive in cafes, in the airplanes,  waiting rooms, trains, various events (during intermissions, of course!).
Yonger generation’s expectations are also linked to the latest technology, available to them.

At the same time, their desire to get the latest and greatest is not matching standard corporate upgrade cycles.  So, BYOD brings the opportunity to satisfy the craving for new technology without the requirement to change corporate approach to device replacement policy.

While enterprises may like the idea of being able to satisfy employee’s requirements without significant additional costs, perhaps even with lowering some costs, several important considerations have to be made.

First, introduction to the new language called “legalese” may help  IT colleagues to understand some challenges associated with various laws and regulations governing privacy , litigation,labor and other aspects of the law.  Well, your local legal department may help to translate some information from that language to plain English and vice versa.

After these topics are properly addressed,  then your HR department may be very interested in the such aspects as dismissal process.  How do we ensure that corporate data is removed form the device, and remains fully protected?

Your CFO may consider specific reimbursement (or no reimbursement)  approach,  and of course, compliance with local financial and tax regulations.

Your IT security department may want to ensure that corporate data is always safe on BYOD devices – and to ensure that baseline secuity requirements are met at al times.

So, what would be ideal solution to take advantage of BYOD opportunities while addressing many relevant challenges?  MDM – Mobile Device Management – helps a lot here.

It is always good to combine techology based enforcements with written policy based enforcements. MDM allows  to expand technology enforcements,

Such products as SAP Afaria allow to establish very specific set of requirements and enforce them on a large scale. Considering self -service scenario, fully supported by the product, BYOD can add more flexibility for the employees without significant additional costs.

In addition, MDM product will help to ensure that corporate devices also follow all security requirements.

If I had a choice, I would also decipher the abreviation MDM as “Mobile Data management” rather then “Mobile device management” since , after all, we care more about protecting the data , rather then devices.

And, at some point, perhaps  I will think about additional meanings attached to “BYOD”……

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