How To Successfully Implement A “Bring Your Own Computer” Program In Your Office


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Companies of all sizes are witnessing a transformation in the types of devices entering the workplace, fuelled by their employees.The consumerization of IT —consumers influencing technology trends that drive change in the enterprise — is expected to force more change over the next 10 years than any other trend, according to Gartner*.

Desktop virtualization supports the pattern of consumerization and enables IT to fundamentally rethink the way user hardware is provisioned, allowing employees to use their PCs, Macs and personal mobile devices for accessing corporate applications at work, home or anywhere on-the-go.

To manage the proliferation of innovative consumer devices being introduced in the marketplace, IT must respond by finding a way to accommodate user requests and to balance the differences between what employees and CIOs want. Employees want simple access to their desktop applications from any device they choose while CIOs need complete control over security, performance and user experience while minimising IT support costs that make up >70% of today’s average IT budget.

Bring Your Own is a business model that empowers employees to bring the device – laptop, smartphone or tablet – that best suits their virtual workstyle into the workplace, bringing value to employees, IT and the organisation. By choosing their device, employees can more easily access both personal and corporate information and gain increased mobility, satisfaction, productivity and the ability to work from any location. BYO can be offered as a company sponsored stipend program – Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) – or simply by allowing employees to bring existing devices to work – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

To implement a successful BYO program, organisations must address technical challenges and considerations. From a business perspective, companies must consider the financial, legal, implementation and support elements of a BYO program. On the technical side, IT and security teams need to understand, plan and implement a solution that adheres to existing policies and compliance requirements.

Below is a step by step guide to a successful BYO program, one that enables IT to save time and cost by simplifying IT infrastructure, reducing device management and support overhead while streamlining business processes, making users more productive and increasing employee satisfaction.

  • Assess your employees – who is BYO right for?

Not all employees will participate in a BYO program therefore it’s important that organisations carry out a thorough self-assessment to understand who will be interested in and benefit from a BYO initiative. Some employees will in fact follow the experiences of early adopters, such as IT teams, sales professionals, marketing teams and software developers while others will not be interested due to a lack of desire to maintain and manage their own device. To help evaluate the benefits to the bottom line and to employees alike, businesses can opt for an initial pilot program, aimed at assessing the real advantages of the BYO scheme.

  • Invest in desktop virtualization to enable BYO

Desktop virtualization allows IT to centrally manage employee desktops and deliver applications as an on-demand service. By hosting applications, the desktop OS and user profiles in the datacenter, IT can centrally manage and deliver a full desktop experience.  The user is free to choose the device they prefer and even have the same experience across multiple devices.

IT continues to manage the applications and desktop OS that is delivered to the users selected choice of devices.  This approach will greatly increase user satisfaction by giving employees the freedom to choose the exact mix of options, features and styles that match their personality and individual computing needs, providing them with the option to self-service their device, which is often preferred amongst  the digital natives entering the workplace (Generation Virtual).

  • Design a BYO policy with key stakeholders

Implementing a BYO program across the organisation requires that all stakeholders such as IT, HR and Legal agree on a comprehensive set of policies for administration. The policies must define eligibility, device and data ownership clauses, contractual obligations, general compliance and circumstances under which employees can be held accountable for breach of contract.

  • Protect corporate data and intellectual property

Security concerns around BYO originate from the fact that the device itself is not owned by the organisation, but belongs to the employee. This security problem is not new for IT; any organisation that provides corporate-owned laptops to employees may have similar concerns about loss of data, theft or security breaches outside of work.

To make the BYO experience seamless and the program meaningful for IT, organisations must provide access to virtual corporate desktops, applications and data to all employees anytime, anywhere, which means that some data is likely to be stored on the user device. It is however essential that IT retains the ability to secure, control and remotely erase corporate data on employee-owned devices in the event of a security breach, if the employee leaves or the device is lost or stolen.

By delivering desktops and applications as an on-demand service, IT can enable different security profiles and requirements including policies that prohibit saving data on local devices therefore extending custom security policies to employee-owned devices. Additionally, it allows IT to encrypt all corporate data created through IT-delivered applications (without touching employees’ personal applications and data), and to remotely erase the data in the event of a security breach.

  • Require manager approval and employee agreement

A comprehensive and efficient BYO strategy creates unique business value that results in easier and faster on-boarding of high quality new hires, higher efficiency and retention of existing talent within the organisation. Managers and employees alike should agree and commit to all BYO rules to ensure that the program satisfies both the company’s policies (security, HR, legal etc) and supports the employees’ growing demand for virtual lifestyles and device flexibility.

  • Consider a stipend program

To encourage employees to self-provision their own device, companies should consider offering a stipend, which can be used to purchase a device of their choice. Additionally, organisations that already make an investment in devices for new or existing employees may consider this option to provide flexibility and reduce long-term device management costs.

  • Empower employees to self-provision and self-support

Once both employee and company needs have been assessed, organisations should encourage staff to bring or buy their own device and use the same device for work as well as personal purposes. Because employees legally own the laptop, tablet or smartphone, they feel – and yet should be made – responsible for any maintenance while the corporate data that is generated, maintained or saved on the device remains the property of the organisation.

This way, CIOs can finally free themselves from the losing battle of trying to own, secure and manage devices for an increasingly mobile and independent workforce that is increasingly capable of managing their own devices and may prefer a self-service approach to IT.

Many organisations already provide their employees the power to choose the smartphone, tablet or laptop of their choice. BYO is just a broader extension of this same concept. IT workers, engineers and executives frequently enjoy the privilege of bringing their own (usually non-standard) device to work because these users have specific requirements, which may not be met by current devices provided by the organisation. BYO extends this privilege to all employees that meet the defined criteria. Gen-V, along with most employees who own personal computing devices, are now well-versed in maintaining devices and troubleshooting their issues.

By allowing employees to choose their preferred device and to access data from anywhere on any device, enterprises can bring the personal back into computing, support and drive creativity, boost productivity regardless of work location and retain top talent.

The key benefits that drive the adoption of BYO are increased employee satisfaction and higher productivity, combined with reduced long-term IT support costs.

By leveraging available technologies and best practices to support the needs of end users and IT alike, companies can implement desktop virtualization as the backbone of new BYO schemes, making BYO an ‘everybody-wins’ proposition across the organisation. Employees already use personal computers for company work, and vice versa; this way, they can do so without all the security headaches, support issues and other complications that can otherwise arise.

*Gartner press release, Companies Must Change Practices to Target Generation V, November 13, 2007