February 14, 2017

CIO Meeting Recap: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

SVP & CIO Mike Larson spoke with the CIO group last Friday about Universal Hospital Services’ journey implementing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. With advancements in technology and the need to do more for less money, the concept of BYOD seems to be taking over the corporate world. Employees want to be able to use personal devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. and have the ability to access corporate data anywhere, at any time. This demand for IT consumerization is increasing and isn’t going anywhere, and organizations must make changes to adapt to the evolving workforce. As with most change, implementing a BYOD policy is not easy. While there are many benefits to implementing a BYOD strategy, such as increased employee productivity, there are also many risks, like security, that must be considered. When working on this implementation, an important thing to remember is that there are many different ways to approach this change and what works for one organization may not work for the next.

Why might organizations switch to a BYOD policy? Is it right for your organization?

Implementing a BYOD policy may not be right for every organization as there are many factors that must be considered. What are the key drivers and, more specifically, what do you want to achieve with this policy? Below are a few reasons why organizations make this change:

  • Increased productivity. Employees often work faster and more efficient when using their own technology. Also, employees usually carry personal devices with them at all times which makes them more accessible.
  • Gives employees an option. Do individuals in your organization carry two phones (personal and work)? Let them choose if they would rather have both a personal and work phone, or if they would prefer just one.
  • Newer devices. Individuals tend to update their personal devices a lot sooner/faster than organizations which means they stay up to date with new products.
  • Lower technology costs. Is your organization spending tons of money on technology? Is the cell phone bill out of control? By switching to a BYOD policy, your organization is likely to decrease the amount of money spent on technology.

Implementing an organization-wide change is difficult and companies must consider all possible implications. Below are a few of the risks and disadvantages of BYOD:

  • Security. Some security risk/concerns with a BYOD policy are: increased data leakage, mixing personal and business data, poorly cared for devices, IT infrastructure, etc.
  • No uniform support. How will you handle support? What will you do when people have a problem?  
  • Gaining buy-in. Not everyone will be advocates of this transformation, so part of the process will be gaining buy-in from individuals – which can be very difficult.

As Mike shared with the group on Friday, implementing a BYOD policy will most likely be a phased approach because switching to employee-owned smartphones is a lot less complex than switching to employee-owned laptops. Set goals and milestones for your organization to achieve, but remember it is normal to encounter roadblocks along the way.  

How does your organization navigate the BYOD landscape?

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Posted by: Rachael Gaffney

Tags:  Industry Trends, CIO Group, Meeting Recap, BYOD

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