The issue at hand
“Should employees be allowed to use their own device for work?” Serving as the central question for a Wall Street Journal article published this morning, contributors weighed in on both sides of the debate surrounding the consumerization of IT. It is undeniable that this is an issue which IT departments will have to address, and unfortunately, there is no easy response to the problem. However, it is important that we pause to consider if this question is even relevant anymore. I would argue that the real question now faced by IT departments is not should employees be allowed to use their own devices, but how do we handle the usage of personal devices at work?
While some IT departments might try to stave off the inevitable, the number of employees bringing personal devices to work will only increase over the next few years. IT departments can attempt to enforce strict policies outlawing the use of personal devices for work-related endeavors, but this stance will only create additional problems and headaches. The best policy to adopt is one of preparation, encouraging your company to proactively manage this trend as opposed to being overwhelmed by it.
Let’s consider the pros
Approaching the problem from a different standpoint, this can actually be seen as an opportunity to take advantage of existing apps and services that employees are comfortable using on their personal devices to increase their productivity at work. We recently formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to address this very point. Our partnership will seek to capitalize on the productivity belief by developing new business apps and solutions to further improve productivity as well as driving adoption for the Windows Phone platform across the enterprise.
The productivity argument is enough to convince me, if the right security measures are in place from the get-go. The best way to address the BYOD trend is to seek integration across multiple platforms, with a focus on monitoring security and productivity as corporations try to please employees as well as their IT department.
So how will you react?
People can debate all day over the pros and cons of the consumerization of IT. But debating the issue won’t make the problem go away, and now is not the time to sit back, wait, and see what happens. The sooner IT departments are able to agree on a strategy and begin initial enterprise-wide implementation, the less case-by-case trouble-shooting they will have to do along the way. Like every change, this can be viewed as a burden or an opportunity. Will your enterprise bemoan the change, or embrace it as a way to further your competitive advantage?