Though the movement isn’t restricted to younger workers, the millennial generation is leading the charge for enterprises to adopt bring your own device (BYOD) policies. This generation of digital natives has grown up with using their hardware at school, so extending that into the workplace seems logical to them–particularly when they begin their first corporate role and are presented with what they perceive to be clunky, outdated technology.
So reports CNBC in BYOD or bust: How bad tech is costing companies. Younger workers are rejecting bulky laptops and BlackBerrys in favor of their own, sleeker devices. While this creates huge security issues for companies, experts from Gartner, Forrester Research and Fortinet agree that companies who want to retain the best and brightest young workers need to embrace the BYOD trend. It’s not okay to say “no” but it is alright to say “no, not until your device is secured.”
These experts point out that the advantages of BYOD include not just happier employees (and therefore higher retention), but also lower overall costs. The cost of securing outside devices (which Gartner estimates at roughly $300 per year per employee) plus splitting airtime costs can be less than what firms are currently paying for devices, upgrades and online access.
Further, Fortinet security strategist Richard Henderson points out that “For a long time IT departments argued that managing one type of device for all employees was much more efficient, but that is a myth and they can’t lean on that excuse anymore… Software has advanced so that it is now easy for IT to manage applications across different platforms, including Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.”
According to Gartner analyst David Willis, “Companies don’t really have a choice. These young employees are going to attempt to connect devices online whether you like it or not.” Over 60 percent of employees globally say they have used a personal device at work, and Gartner predict that nearly 40% of companies will go completely BYOD by 2016.
Given these developments, organizations can take (and many are already beginning to take) these steps now:
- To secure devices in a manner that accommodates the needs of both IT departments and mobile workers, adopt “Genius Bar” type schedule-based services rather than relying on the traditional IT service queue.
- Include BYOD-related services (security, application access, etc.) as part of an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy, wherein employees can request virtually any type of service from any department through a single intuitive web-based portal interface.
- Make BYOD part of the new employee onboarding process. Enabling employees to specify which of their own devices, if any, they want to use in the workplace when first joining the company can enable IT to proactively schedule a time to secure and provision the device, thereby minimizing the time-to-productivity for the new employee.
Given the force of this trend, most organizations will have to adopt some form of BYOD practices and policies in the near term, if these are not already in place. By incorporating schedule-based services, ERM and onboarding task flow into these policies, enterprises will be best positioned to compete both for talent and in the marketplace.