Are your customers considering BYOD? Here's 5 things you need to know before you sell that strategy

With more than 300 million smartphones worldwide, your customers are likely to need a BYOD strategy. Be sure you’re well prepared to advise them.

There are now relatively few companies who haven’t at least considered bring your own device (BYOD) working practices. Tech Pro Research recently revealed that 59% of businesses currently allow the use of personal devices for work purposes.

The use of personal mobile devices is widespread and the advantages of allowing employees to conduct daily business on their preferred devices are clear cut. It is these employee related advantages that are the top drivers for BYOD adoption:

  • 63% of businesses stated increased employee mobility.
  • 56% of business stated employee satisfaction.
  • 55% of businesses stated employee productivity.
    Crowd Research Partners.

Your customers will want to stay ahead of their competitors and investing in a BYOD strategy is a sure fire way to increase their mobile maturity. Before taking the plunge, it is your responsibility as a reseller to ensure your customers have explored all potential opportunities and issues surrounding BYOD. With that, here are five considerations that your customers should bear in mind.

1. Cost implications

The cost implications of introducing BYOD are significant. Potential savings can be huge thanks to reduced capital costs, minimised maintenance, and lack of servicing fees. It’s estimated that migrating from business-owned devices to employee-owned equivalents saved some businesses $200 per user.

Advise your customers to total these costs ahead of any decision, working with them to identify potential savings. The costs should include technical support from within the business, which may now be provided by the device vendors or contract providers, along with the cost of applications which are paid for by employees, but have a business use.

As your customers implement BYOD strategies, however, the onus will move away from providing devices towards supporting an array of platforms and operating systems too.

This has the potential to drive costs back up. You will need to work with your customers to assess additional costs as a result of change. These changes can include:

  • The portion of the device contract charge that will apply to the business.
  • The cost of integrating multiple devices and platforms with the corporate infrastructure.
  • Departmental ownership of creating and monitoring BYOD policies.

“Enterprises in the US are overspending by an average of almost $287 per employee each year, due to compliance concerns, confusion in the executive suite over BYOD policy ownership, and lack of visibility into employee mobile usage.” – BetaNews

2. Flexibility first

Your customers need to consider flexible conditions for employees. BYOD introduces freedom for employees, who will be at liberty to choose the device, operating system, and platform of their choice. 61% of businesses benefit from improved employee mobility when BYOD is in place.

This flexibility should begin at the point of reviewing your customer's infrastructure. A cloud-based platform will allow more end users to connect and be fully supported – regardless of their chosen device. Migrating your customer’s company IT infrastructure to the cloud further lowers its cost and helps to enable BYOD. 47% of large enterprises and 44% of medium businesses reported cloud-computing as a way of slashing costs, outweighing factors such as modernisation.

There is a significant technological advantage to the enterprise in allowing employees to bring their own devices – and it is an advantage which grows over time, as employees are able to upgrade their devices at little or no extra cost, whereas the business might have to invest heavily to acquire new hardware or software. Your customers can improve employee satisfaction by giving them the freedom to be productive how, when, and where they choose. “BYOD gives staff more flexibility to work remotely, creatively and quickly.” – Fast Company.

3. Device control limitations

Your customers need to be aware of the limitations of their device control. 39% of businesses have stated that security concerns are the biggest barrier to adopting BYOD practices. Without visibility over how end users are using their devices within the enterprise network, vulnerabilities can soon leak into your customer's business.

  • 56% of business leaders are concerned that BYOD gives way to unauthorised access to company data and systems.
  • 54% of business leaders are concerned that end users will download unsafe apps or content.
    Crowd Research Partners

To make BYOD more complex, your customers aren’t the only party with concerns. Employees are likely to resist having their personal data controlled or restricted by their employers, or wiped as part of a security process. 12% of employees have concerns surrounding their own privacy.

Your customers need to know how they can counteract their end users concerns, while satisfying the needs of the business and protecting any sensitive information. Device containerisation - holding corporate data in a distinct section of the device - is a key security measure your customers should adopt. It will reassure customers that they are not putting their business in jeopardy by letting employees use their own devices for work.

Device encryption and usage policies are also beneficial ways your customers can increase their control over devices used within the enterprise environment.

“IT must counter BYOD security risks with measures such as encryption of sensitive information, authentication to make sure only authorised individuals can access that information and management of these functions.” – Search Mobile Computing

4. The cultural advantages of bring your own device

Alert your customers to the cultural advantages of BYOD. Employees using their own devices for work are likely to be familiar with, and able to access, new applications or programs that the business may not be aware of. Your customer’s employees can manipulate available technology on their devices in ways that are hugely beneficial to the company, such as driving innovation of processes and increasing their productivity.

Since BYOD is a trend that sees employees dictating IT, rather than vice versa, it creates a happier, more engaged workforce where remote support is a valued part of the company culture.

5. Potential BYOD IT complications

When discussing BYOD strategies with your customer, it’s important to have an honest conversation around potential complications. If any and all mobile devices are permitted, the cost and complexity of catering to them all could rise as new and less well integrated devices emerge.

Your customers need to be in a position to support any device that is brought into the enterprise. When strategising, your customers may wish to stipulate which devices or platforms are acceptable under their BYOD policy. Equally, security issues with BYOD must be addressed for each platform or device, to ensure that company data remains secure and can be controlled by your customers.

“Revise current policies and protocols that may be affected by BYOD practices. This might include adjusting record-retention policies to cover data on employee-owned devices; revisiting data breach protocols to ensure that they cover situations where sensitive data (such as Social Security numbers and credit card information) is compromised.” – Society for Human Resource Management

Takeaways:

  • Think. Consider the many cost implications and security complications of BYOD. Your customers need to be aware of all potential scenarios that can improve or jeopardise their business and corporate information.
  • Act. Work with your customers to assess their needs and their current business status. Reviewing their current infrastructure, policies, and security protocols will help them to prepare for BYOD roll-out.
  • Lead. Work with your customers to improve on your findings. Scope out whether a cloud-based platform is suitable for them, how they can tighten their security, and to what extent they can invest in BYOD strategies.
  • Share. It’s crucial to have an honest conversation with your customers around potential complications, but don’t forget the positives. BYOD practices can reduce overheads, increase employee productivity, and open opportunities for innovation across the business.

The Trusted Advisor Blueprint: How to plan and deliver an enterprise mobility management (EMM) project