Unlike in the photo, tablets usually have something on the screen when people use them.
Each year, small business owners are bombarded with a barrage of new acronyms and hot tech trends to watch – some of which are more applicable to a small and growing businesses than others.
But bring your own device (BYOD) is not something they can dismiss as a buzzword irrelevant to their own organisations. In fact, with a massive 40% of UK small business workers able to choose the device they work on, compared with just 20% of large enterprise workers, BYOD is more of a reality for small businesses today than their larger counterparts.
The reality is that BYOD is pervasive, whether businesses like it or not, or have a BYOD policy in place. Employees are truly driving the change, with 37% bringing non-compliant devices into their business networks before formal policies are established.
What’s more, consumer appetite for such devices shows no signs of cooling. More than six million Brits had a smartphone as well as a tablet in December 2012. The same comScore research found almost a third of all UK page views come from mobiles and tablets.
So what benefits could BYOD offer business? For smaller companies, there is the clear IT infrastructure and cost rationalisation for allowing employees to use their own devices. However, perhaps more significant is what BYOD promises in terms of productivity.
A Dell Quest study into global BYOD trends (PDF link) found 70% of companies believe BYOD improves employee productivity and customer response times. With the flexibility to use devices that best suit their preferred modes of working, employees have an opportunity to work more efficiently and creatively.
What’s more, as the blurring of the private and business worlds continues, employees are going to demand more from IT, so there will be an increasing need for businesses to offer a culture of enablement, rather than one characterised by limitations.
This may explain why 71% of organisations believe implementing a BYOD policy improves workforce morale, while 65% recognise it can be a valuable tool for attracting and retaining talent.
These advantages can help a business to maintain its competitive advantage and avoid getting left behind – something 59% of organisations (PDF link) feel could happen in the absence of a formal BYOD policy.
But the onslaught of multiple devices and operating systems means businesses are grappling with the task of safely and securely enabling staff to create a personalised workspace that enhances the user experience and promotes productivity.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to BYOD policy, but there are some key considerations for businesses:
Crucial to any successful policy is ensuring that an employee-centric approach is taken. Companies mustn’t only consider productivity and cost-savings, but must ensure users are comfortable committing to a BYOD programme:
Far from being the current hot trend, BYOD is already happening. Those businesses able to approach it with preparation, the right technology, and an open mind will be primed for success.
Sarah Shields, General Manager and Executive Director, Dell UK.