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Why the midmarket is overlooking benefits of BYOD

Tom Kaneshige | April 25, 2013
BYOD has the potential in the midmarket to empower smaller workforces. If mishandled with loose rules and complex legalese, BYOD can lead to increased feelings of isolation. Here's how the midmarket can make BYOD work for them.

That said, there are some real problems with BYOD policies and the way they're being implemented today. Midmarket companies, as well as enterprises, tend to write their policies in a very legalese way to protect the company. They're not really articulating what the policies mean in a day-to-day context for employees.

I asked people whether or not the company can see what they're doing on a personal device or wipe the device if it's lost. Every person I spoke to said, "I don't know." That should be unacceptable.

Employees need to know what they're responsible for and also be given clear insight into how they can work with their personal devices in a way that protects both the company and themselves. Employees should know how to do email, how to do backup, how to label things--whatever it might be.

Hiding behind legalese is not benefiting anyone. The decisions that are in play now tend to focus on the legal aspects of IT implementations and not on the cultural implications. There are lots of walls up, such as not being able to share files or see people's availability. While this may seem good on paper in the management suite, in reality this is causing a great deal of chaos, stress and difficulties for employees.

Midmarket companies haven't realized the need for someone in the organization to find out how people are working better and then documenting and evangelizing this in a larger scope. BYOD policies can be positively influenced by having someone dedicated in that role.

What's the danger with poor BYOD policies?

Midmarket companies know that employees are using all kinds of tools, but they just figure it's going to work itself out. Frankly, it's going to become an even more complex ecosystem of tools.

Companies don't know how to articulate, for instance, why employees should get off email. People use email because we're all familiar with it, but email breaks down constantly when trying to be collaborative with remote BYOD workers.

Lack of good collaboration can be a problem for a growing midmarket company. Look at Brooks' law, which basically says that every person you add to a project exponentially increases the time it takes for that project to achieve completion because of the amount of back-and-forth communication.

The larger a company gets, the more important it is to embrace systematic processes. Of all the pain points impacting companies in that 12 to 50 employee size, the biggest one is file management. At a certain point, you don't remember who created a piece of content.

The danger is that people are going to become more reactive in how they deal with their work day. The communication breakdowns and stress levels are going to go up.


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