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OPINION: BYOD - the new era of mobility

Ganapathy Sirgunavel | March 30, 2012
How do you make Bring Your Own Device work for your enterprise?

In the past decade, we witnessed a smart revolution in mobility. The number of mobile devices has increased exponentially thus resulting in an immense growth in the number of individuals that are connected. This growth of connectivity is creating an overwhelming range of new possibilities, and tapping, swiping, locating, pinging and socialising are quickly becoming part of the new norm with regards to human behaviour. Technology is causing people to change their lives and these people, whether employees or consumers, will change our culture and means of doing business.

The consumerisation of IT

Specifically, the consumerisation of IT is rapidly gaining momentum in the enterprise. More and more mobile phone customers own a smartphone device or tablet of some sort and it is no surprise that it is increasingly popular among company employees with many of them bringing the device to work or while they are on the road. Additionally, with mobile operators offering phone and data plans where smartphone and tablet devices are included for free, consumers are in a position (and are often more willing) to update their devices at a speed that even the larger enterprises can't compete with. There are also generational factors at play. Gen Y employees, the first 'digital natives', expect to access corporate applications, starting with e-mail to more complex enterprise systems, quickly and easily from their iPhone and iPad.

With mobile devices and applications now in workers' everyday lives, enterprises have a great opportunity to improve engagement and productivity of its workers by engaging with their mobile needs. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) offers an enterprise the option of mobilising its workforce, potentially faster than it would be able to otherwise and then by doing this, increase its workforce productivity.

As a result, it makes sense to start extending enterprise applications to mobile devices that make a real impact on the bottom line, such as workflow applications, CRM, ERP and BI, because their users typically comprise of decision-makers in the field, such as sales personnel, store and territory managers.

An example is within the utility sector, where customer service representatives, dispatchers, and technicians must be in sync with one another at all times. And all personnel must have access to timely information about the status to keep customers satisfied. Mobile workforce management solutions optimise the service chain, improve workforce productivity, and reduce operating expenses while reducing missed appointments and service backlogs.

Challenges involved in the consumerisation of IT

With the rapid adoption of BYOD, IT departments increasingly face pressure to harness the cost and productivity benefits of personal devices for enterprise use while safeguarding corporate data and intellectual property. It's easy to forget in this context that standardisation has played a major part in streamlining and simplifying the production of enterprise applications in the traditional enterprise application development market. In the brave new world of Bring Your Own Device however, the wide array of incompatible hardware devices and operating systems impose some significant barriers.

 

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