Dan Miller: 5 Rules for Mobility Success in the BYOD Era
It’s about time, no? BYOD is finally out of diapers — completely potty-trained in some cases — and becoming a more integrated element of successful management strategy for companies that, well, get it. One case in point: Citrix, the $2.4 billion IT services-on-demand provider, whose roots as a BYOD pioneer actually began with a BYOL program in the mid-2000s. As Ron Miller notes this week on CITEworld, “mobility” at Citrix wasn’t about jumping on the smartphone bandwagon; it was about supporting a new way of work. Letting employees choose their own laptop back in 2008 — and soon after, smartphones — proved to be a savvy way to cut costs and more naturally “walk the walk” in a decidedly post-PC business like Citrix’s.
The BYOL program saved the company 20 percent on the cost of laptops, with employees pocketing a $200 stipend to pick their favorite machine. And now, they pick everything: As Miller explains, “today, the program has expanded to include smartphones and tablets as well as laptops, with 100 percent of employees participating in the BYOD program for smartphones, 35 percent for tablets, and 25 percent for laptops.” Not bad.
With more BYOD programs maturing into case studies in mobility, it’s no surprise that a set of best practices are growing up as well — which offer IT managers and/or companies that don’t get it some low-risk tactics to play catch-up. Longtime telecom and enterprise analyst Dan Miller of Opus Research is just the latest expert to lay out some basic ground rules of successful BYOD , as he did in his latest research report. It’s worthy reading. Here are the highlights:
1. Recognize that everyone has a better mousetrap. “Mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, are a ‘considered purchase.’ They are highly personalized and vital to the individuals that buy them. They are also becoming more and more affordable.”
2. Make it easy to discover and add functions – “Think of each device as a gateway to enterprise resources to boost individual productivity, communications, and collaboration, but recognize that you’ll be asking Mobile Device Management (MDM) resources to do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of keeping applications up-to-date, secure and compatible.”
3. Use “Big Data” and “Analytics” to get predictive – “Personal data and metadata (concept tagging, etc.) are natural by- products of employee collaboration. They can be used to make diverse workgroups and individuals more productive and more “in control” of the projects they are undertaking through their mobile devices.”
4. Balance security and convenience – “Each device has its own distinctive characteristics and attributes. These determine the threat level they pose to enterprise network integrity. IT experts recommend a tri-partite approach: some devices are approved “Platform” devices that are fully supported; others are supported at the “Application” but not device level; and the last group is supported on a fee-based, charge-back basis.”
5. Bullet-proof the underlying networks – “As employees discover and define new use cases and applications for mobile interactions, their expectations are for a single network to flat-out work without interruptions or latencies. That means network assurance is crucial not only between and among mobile devices, but also among the back-office systems and databases that are invoked during the course of person-to-person interactions.”