Best Argument: Reality
BYOD is an inevitable reality
Companies must decrease overhead costs without sacrificing product and service quality. There's a tremendous cost layout made for end user devices, for software, and for support. One significant way to lower costs is to allow employees to bring their own devices (laptops, smart phones, tablets) to work and use them.
Mobile provisioning and management technologies which include carrier-supported mobile hypervisors will be as disruptive to devices as VMWare has been to the data center. Once the technologies become widely available, the deployments will follow because at the end of the day, enterprises are cheap and any cost-saving technology is going to be embraced. In fact, VMware and Verizon announced yesterday that they're teaming up on mobile virtualization technology to solve this problem for enterprises.
Win, lose or draw on the debate, BYOD is an inevitable reality.
Choose - not bring - your own device
Businesses should absolutely realize productivity benefits by outfitting their employees with the latest mobile technologies, including smartphones, tablets and notebooks. It makes sense for workers to have a say in selecting those products, because then they are more likely to use them.
Plus, your IT team might be turned on to features and applications that it might not otherwise have considered as a “business” application. But your organization is asking for a support and management nightmare, if it chooses to support every mobile technology owned by workers.
Security is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll need to define policies for technical support, for software patch updates, for application distribution – pretty much everything your team is already responsible for doing. So, honestly, what is the
point of ceding ownership?
Rather than “bring your own device,” it should be “choose your own device.” That way, your IT organization will still have control.
Winner: Ken Hess
While Heather highlighted all the issues with bring your own device schemes, Ken had technologies that could cure those ills. The argument was very close, but in the end I went with Ken. BYOD will happen and it's quite possible that IT will have no choice but to play along.
Doc's final thoughtsIN PARTNERSHIP WITH Ricoh
Doc strongly agrees with Ken on this one. My employer now expects me to be available 24/7 and connected to my work no matter where I go or where I am. In exchange for that sort of servitude, I should at least get to pick my communications device of choice. The lines between home and work are extremely blurred these days, and it isn’t realistic to expect employees to be tethered to two separate devices. Sorry Heather, but Doc thinks you’ve overblown the security and other IT management issues – and by the way, how’s that Blackberry service working for you?
It’s true that BYOD has created some headaches for IT managers, but those are likely to be temporary. Where there is a need for enterprise software and hardware management, there is someone working on a solution. Doc is already aware of several enterprise-grade applications to help organizations securely manage a diverse mobile infrastructure. Plus, Doc is willing to bet that employees are more productive when they’re using a device of their choice, one that they are comfortable with and know how to use effectively. And today, productivity is the name of the game—we’re all doing three people’s jobs.
And let’s face it, does it really make sense for companies to standardize around a single platform anymore? That’s a recipe for disaster, as the recent Blackberry outages have shown. We strive for diversity in the workplace -- technology shouldn’t be any different. Mobile management has become part of the IT infrastructure, and it’s just something IT professionals are going to have to deal with. If you get the right enterprise tools then BYOD doesn’t have to be so scary. And by the way, Doc will give up his iPhone when my employer pries it from my cold, dead fingers. And I’m not going to carry two smartphones with me like so many poor saps have to do today. That’s absurd.