Corporate change is slow and in a rapidly changing world, that slowness may be life or death for a company. Organizations are learning they must adapt quickly to changing paradigms, but traditional viewpoints still insist on maximum control and calculation. Years ago, the idea of employees using their own devices to perform sensitive work-related tasks would not only be frowned upon, but be grounds for dismissal from the company.

BYOD devices in a suitcase illustrated

Why BYOD Policies Are Acceptable Now

Mobile Technology capabilities have improved drastically over the last couple of decades. Mobile devices are better accessible to the public: personal use of mobile devices has risen exponentially in this time. Security is a major concern for corporate mobile use and the primary reason why BYOD policies are avoided. When devices are used for both personal and work use, corporate IT will have concerns about users who may not have done everything necessary to keep their device secure. However, the users have the same concern about keeping their personal data private and may not know what to do to secure their device and are eager to learn from IT experts. Additionally, cloud computing and the use of personal clouds make document sharing easier to conduct. Rather than wait for an incident, IT should get in front of the situation to understand and prevent any problems.

Lastly, users are expecting to have the same access to IT applications and performance at work as they do at home. Even in a traditional setting, familiarity bred use: Microsoft Office would be preferred over Lotus SmartSuite even though they had the same capabilities. Why? Most people had Microsoft Office installed at home for their personal use. When personal computers begin to be popularized, Macintosh was the first choice in the United States. Why? Because Apple gave computers away to many schools to teach computer science to their students. Employees want to use what they are familiar with in all areas of their lives. BYOD policies enable a more motivated workforce, who are more productive and happier to stay with the company.

Enabling Agile Business Processes

To understand the importance of BYOD policies in creating agile business processes, an understanding must exist about what makes a process agile. Agile methods go against traditional methods, particularly in development. In traditional business process management, a process is developed over a long period of time then deployed. During this time, business requirements and assumptions change and the developed process no longer fits as expected in the environment. Agile methods allow iterative improvements to the already existing process, allowing changes to be adapted quickly. As previously stated, the modern world is changing rapidly. Processes which are not able to change rapidly could bring down a company faster than expected. BYOD enables companies to adapt changing and emerging technologies faster as they aid they employees in building their own IT workspace.

According to a recent research report, 74 percent of organizations are already practicing or plan for BYOD strategies.

Agile processes demand data. Most employees seek to use their own devices because they know how to access and manipulate personal data. This translates easily to work: familiarity increases productivity. For process management, the key is in measuring correctly, not criteria for acceptance. In essence, success in process management is not based on whether the process is good or not, but whether the process is used or not. How many times has a good process been abandoned because implementation failed? When mobile employees can access data through their preferred hardware and software configurations and cloud-enabled applications and databases, it is better to build the process around these behaviors rather than force desired behavior from the employees through well-developed but disconnected processes.

Agile business processes are responsive to change, experimental and visible. BYOD policies force companies to recognize trends within their walls. What are their employees doing, how are they doing it, and what IT requirements do the employees have? Traditionally, the company defined these things and critical objectives, strategies and procedures should still be defined by the company. However, giving freedom to employees yields greater innovation, thought leadership and competitiveness. BYOD policies are a small freedom for companies to grant with larger rewards in the future.

Still, corporate investments do need control. Most investments should focus on what is known, while some investments should focus on innovations that support what is known. For a corporate leader, a small investment should be given to out-of-the-box ideas and trends. BYOD is still a new concern and the future is unclear. This epitomizes the agile approach. However, the current benefits to both employees and employers makes the BYOD investment highly advantageous.