What is BYOD?
BYOD, which stands for Bring Your Own Device, is the concept of allowing employees to use one device - such as a smartphone or tablet for example - for both personal and work-related tasks. So instead of having one device for personal use and another device for business use, BYOD enables you to use one device for both purposes.
Employees Prefer Using Personal Devices for Work
As personal mobile devices have become more prevalent, more and more of today’s employees are preferring to use their personal devices to manage both work and personal information. After all, why have two devices doing the work that one of them could easily handle?
The expansion of the smartphone and tablet markets combined with the increased desire to use personal communications devices at work have led to the growth of the BYOD trend.
But why are these becoming the device of choice?
Simply put, cloud applications are making it easier for employees to access all of their data directly from their smartphones or tablets. This is true of web-based business phone systems, as well.
So using a single device for both work and personal use is becoming popular among workers, but is BYOD good for business?
Advantages of BYOD for Businesses
When it comes to the integration between personal smart phones, tablets and office phone systems, BYOD can offer a competitive advantage for SMBs.
BYOD makes it easier for employees to work remotely and can improve employee productivity.
Taking advantage of the use of employees' personal smart phones and tablets can also help reduce expenses for companies, since they no longer need to provide company-issued mobile devices.
Seamless communications from mobile devices is also important for business continuity and disaster recovery plans.
Potential Risks and Considerations
The adoption of BYOD into the workplace can definitely be beneficial for both businesses and workers alike, but it can also be challenging for IT departments as they must develop policies and security procedures that protect the company.
It can also be difficult for companies with limited IT resources to face supporting multiple types of personal devices now being used across the organization.
Why consider adopting a BYOD strategy in your business?
If you’re weighing the pros and cons of implementing BYOD in your business or organization, here are the top 6 factors to consider:
- Number of remote or telecommuting employees
- How much access employees have to privileged corporate information
- Possible regulatory requirements impacting employees use of mobile devices
- How to support software application or platform preferences (Windows vs. Mac)
- Extent of IT support required for employees
- How mobile employees are, including amount and type of travel (international vs. domestic)
You’ll also want to consider industry trends when considering adopting BYOD.
First, remote working is becoming more popular, and BYOD makes remote working easier. Consider the fact that three out of five employees today say that they can work as easily remotely as they can in the office. Add to that sentiment the high cost of fuel and airfare, and it’s not surprising more people are opting to work remotely from home or other locations.
With remote working gaining in popularity, employees need to be able to access their business phone and other professional applications no matter where they are. A hosted (or cloud) VoIP phone system makes this type of mobile connectivity easy.
Not only do they better connect remote workers, but hosted phone systems can also save businesses money. They’re particularly ideal for small businesses that want to reduce spending on IT resources and roll their phone system into OPEX. By having cloud-based storage or data, combined with a hosted phone system, employees can choose to connect to their office phone system from their desktop phone or from their mobile device.
If you’re an SMB, the second thing to remember is SMBs clearly have an advantage over enterprises when it comes to BYOD.
For example, the majority of SMBs report that they are supporting employee-purchased devices in addition to the devices they themselves have acquired. Enterprises typically invest in a communications plan that involves more complex and intertwined business applications, making it more difficult to adopt tablets and smart devices to support these applications. Implementing BYOD for large enterprise companies in such a situation would involve large-scale cost and project planning.
However, SMBs are more agile and can adopt hosted phone system solutions easily, putting them in a better position to take advantage of BYOD trends and ultimately allow their employees to work where/how they want to work.