Life is hard enough for the modern CIO, with BYOD taking over personal computing and cloud challenges making life more complicated. But there are plenty of benefits that accompany this shift, according to panelists at Structure Europe.

The consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement are beneficial to today’s enterprises; if they’re willing to transform their corporate mindsets. Gone are the legacy 5- and 10-year plans that worked when a CIO had total control over an IT shop. Instead, companies should embrace and support BYOD while focusing on investments that show return in just a year or two, said GigaOM’s Structure Europe panelists in Amsterdam on Tuesday.

Harish Rao, CTO, Global Infrastructure Services at Capgemini, suggested that CIOs answer this question in the Post-PC world: “We know the consumerization of enterprise is growing with both new devices and apps. How do I bring this into a non-denying mode of acceptance with caution? The challenge is to understand, digest, and exploit this movement for business purposes.” Rao noted that the most open-minded and agile enterprises will likely be the most successful in harnessing this change.

Part of the problem is the sheer number of devices, and likewise, the number of platforms finding their way into the corporate world. COO of Box, Dan Levin said the typical IT shop has 5 operating systems to manage now, requiring a next-generation set of solutions. Harish agrees, noting that we previously saw a ratio of 1 employees to 1.2 devices in the past. “Now it’s 1 to X and we don’t know what X is,” he said.

Levin himself carries no less than 7 devices to manage his workday: 2 laptops, 2 phones and 3 tablets. “I grab the one whose form factor is most suited to my task. And I want all my apps, content, access to be provisioned transparently across all of those devices,” Levin said. Surely that’s a nightmare for today’s IT unit. But there is at least one way to mange this problem while also providing data security.

“Simplicity is a given,” said Christian Lindholm, Board Advisor at Fjord. “Design-centric solutions are transforming and setting the trend. Simplification on the front end will solve some of these problems with multiple OSs.” Whether that’s virtual machines or remote access across devices, PCs and the cloud will depend on a business’s particular needs and resources.

Of course, resources are budgeted, so that’s a constraint. The BYOD crowd is getting around even that, however. Harish noted a “black market” for cloud services is cropping up. Instead of dealing with restrictive corporate policy and finances, employees are pulling out credit cards and their Amazon Web Services account to get things done. One way or another then, the BYOD crowd is going to use the hardware, software and services of their own choosing in this post-PC world. You can fight it and lose good talent or you can embrace it and look for opportunity.

Check out the rest of our Structure Europe 2012 live coverage here, and a video recording of the session follows below.

  1. Mosaic Technology Tuesday, October 16, 2012

    Great article. No doubt there are serious benefits to BYOD but security is among a top concern. It will be interesting to see how companies either adopt or abandon this trend as it develops.

    Mosaic Technology

  2. If only OS virtualization were easier to implement. BYOD would be much more enticing to the most paranoid of organizations.

  3. Greig Duncanson Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Security, posture inc remote scrub and liberal governance the key foundation stones to BYOD within public sector organisations.

  4. You can have your cake and eat it too – there is no need to compromise on end user experience or adoption nor security. ionGrid solved both ends of the continuum, delivering all the benefits of BYOD without the costs. We would be happy to share more on how Fortune 500 firms are tackling this new challenge and winning. Visit http://www.iongrid.com for more information.

  5. Boyd has been happening for quite some time, enterprise level customers can get a grip on there data by embracing the many benefits corporate cloud and MAS can bring. Lower infrastructure costs quicker deployment of applications to a mobile workforce and centralized data.

  6. Carl J. Rodrigues, President & CEO, SOTI Inc. Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Good read, Kevin! You hit on a lot of key points surrounding the BYOD trend, especially with the immediate shortcomings such as security and device provisioning. While the BYOD craze continues to gain traction, many IT managers are burdened with the question of whether or not to implement a BYOD policy, and if so, how to manage it. My company, SOTI, offers MobiControl, an industry leading MDM solution. MobiControl provides a web-based management console that equips IT managers with the tools to remotely provision devices and enable communication encryption, making enterprise-wide device deployments feasible. Take a look at how Masafi, a producer and distributor of fresh water in the UAE, utilized MobiControl in managing its workforce: http://www.soti.net/PDF/SOTI-Masafi-CaseStudy.pdf

  7. Good article. I think that CIO’s will find that the recent White Paper from IT services company Coranet helps them begin to develop a specific approach to managing BYOD: http://coranet.com/images/pdf/coranetstraighttalkceo1a.pdf

  8. Domingo Guerra Tuesday, October 23, 2012

    Kevin, I agree with you completely about ensuring companies need a transparent, thorough BYOD policy across their network. What some companies seem to forget is how easily hackers can access your personal information though apps on your mobile devices. If your work information is available on your smartphone, hackers have that advantage to not only steal personal but company sensitive information. By providing an App reputation report for secure and non secure apps available, companies will be able to identify which apps have risky behaviors.

  9. BYOD is here to stay. I think as more companies see the increases in productivity and flexibility that they will get on board. Some will use large BYOD systems, or like us use focused software or apps. We needed HIPAA complient BYOD communication, and we got the BYOD policy changed to include Tigertext on everyones device for HIPAA complient texting which really increased doctors productivity. For smaller businesses, I think BYOD and security will be a challenge, but solutions are out there if you look for them. I work for MKD Healthcare.

  10. This is such a big issue for IT, yes BYOD is good for business and yes it is a big security risk. I don’t think that BYOD should be ruled out becuse of the security risk, but I think you have to really look at how you are going to do it. We had to deal with this situation at our hospital since the doctors were using their cell phone to text patient info to admin and other doctors. This is a big HIPAA violation and security risk. After evaluating severial systems, we ended up using Tigertext since it was the only texting app that was HIPAA compliant. Texting increased productivity, but until we were able to deal with the security side the risk benefit ratio didn’t work.

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