BYOD is not a temporary problem generated by a few errant staff

While most organisations are increasingly feeling the imperative to “do mobile,” many don’t know where to begin. Today’s employers have diverse workforces, made up of full-time staff, external contracting agencies, independent professionals, and part-time staff. In addition to the changes in the workforce, all enterprises (business, government and community) have been pushing their IT processes beyond their own organisational boundaries and it is increasingly clear they don’t have absolute control over the tools used to access their corporate systems and data. All this means, advises the experts at Gartner, bring your own device (BOYD) is not just a purchasing issue, but should be approached more broadly with the applications and strategies necessary for a changing world.

Darryl Carlton research director at Gartner explained: “We are no longer developing applications for deployment to an exclusive user base over which we exert standards and control. BYOD is an indication that internal IT is not providing adequate support for a segment of the user population and they are seeking alternatives elsewhere.

“It’s important to recognize that BYOD, bring your own application (BYOA) and cloud adoption are leading indicators of long-term structural change occurring in the industry, not the demands of a few errant staff demanding their favourite brand of technology.

“Designing your applications to meet the demands of BYOD is not the same as setting usage policies or having strategic sourcing plans that mandate a particular platform,” he added. “BYOD should be a design principle that provides you with a vendor neutral applications portfolio and a flexible future-proof architecture. If the applications exhibit technical constraints that limit choice and limit deployment, then the purchasing policy is irrelevant.” 

This development is leading to the need for IT to look into the techniques and practices of what Gartner calls “global class” computing — an approach to designing systems and architectures that extends computing processes outside the enterprise and into the cultures of the consumer, mobile worker and business partners.

Applications within the business now need to support a diverse and demanding community of users both within and outside of the organisation.

“For CIOs to consider BYOD activities within their organization to be a temporary problem generated by a few disaffected employees would be a tragic mistake,” said Carlton. “This is a leading indicator of change for which an appropriate response is required. Reasserting control is not an appropriate response. This is a permanent and irreversible shift in the way that IT is procured and implemented to support the organization, suppliers and customers.”

Gartner recommends that organsations develop their strategy based on an assumption that BYOD will happen, and that they will need to support users outside of the organisation’s boundaries. Starting with this assumption will mean that open standards are quickly enforced for all solutions.

Full details are available in the report “BYOD Is an Applications Strategy, Not Just a Purchasing Policy.”