Harmon.ie provides cross-platform mobile harmony for BYOD

Harmon.ie Mobile combines Microsoft document sharing and social apps into a common experience across iOS, Android, and BlackBerry 10 mobile operating systems. Having all of your conversations in one place is a good thing.

Israel-based Harmon.ie places your Microsoft document sharing and social conversations into a single app. I spoke with Yaacov Cohen, Harmon.ie's co-founder and CEO about BYOD, employee collaboration, mobile security, Harmon.ie's integrated conversation solution, and why some BYOD programs seem to fail.

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When given the choice of good news first or bad news first, many of you choose bad news first, so that's what I'll give you here. The bad news is that BYOD programs fail or can fail for many reasons. Sure, there are those programs that fail because they're too restrictive, that employers don't offset some of the cost of the service or the device, or that there's a serious lack of support for a particular type of device. The broader fail cases fall generally under two major areas: security and inconsistent experience per device.

Security is a legitimate concern for businesses and for users. From the business side, you need to adhere to a few basic practices to make BYOD a doable thing, such as using a passcode on your device. That's pretty basic. It's also a requirement for most, if not all, BYOD program participation.

But security runs in both directions. BYOD participants want security for their personal data and protection for their personal apps. This is the reason that Mr. Cohen states that "We leave security up to the MDM." Harmon.ie provides the functionality and the MDM covers security. And Harmon.ie holds certifications by what it describes as "all leading MDM vendors". It lists Citrix, Good Technology, Mobile Iron, AirWatch, Samsung KNOX, and Blackberry on its site.

For device consistency, users expect that an app on one platform will look and behave similarly on other platforms. The reason for this expectation is that many users own multiple devices. It isn't unusual for a user to own multiple iOS devices, multiple Android devices, or a combination of device types. And of course, they all own or use a personal computer that uses Windows, Mac, or Linux. The expectation is that their experience with a single app will easily translate from one platform or device to another. The old, "When you've seen it on iOS, you've seen it on everything" adage should hold true for multi-platform apps.

Harmon.ie Mobile app recreates that consistent user experience across all devices for the following Microsoft applications:

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  • SharePoint
  • Office 365
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Email
  • Office for iPad
  • Office Online
  • Phone
  • Yammer

Per device licensing is another failure point for BYOD programs. Vendors charge a per device fee for app licensing which causes BYOD costs to escalate. Harmon.ie offers per user licensing so that each user can use multiple devices without paying a license fee for each one. This means that if you use three different devices, you pay a single license fee.

If you want your BYOD program to succeed, then you need to consider how to make the user experience better. You have to provide security for your business data, for the user's data, and for your network. There are some basic rules to follow, such as using a good mobile management suite to guarantee security consistency and adherence to security guidelines. You also have to realize that individual users might own multiple devices. You have to be ready to support them all and to provide a consistent user experience across those devices.

A successful BYOD program isn't a sure thing even if you provide all of the above requirements. In fact, many BYOD programs fail. But you can increase your chances of success through thoughtful consideration of the user, her device list, her security, and her in-app experiences.

If you have a BYOD program in place, what aspects of it make it successful? Have you had a BYOD program fail? What caused it to fail? Talk back and let's discuss it.

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