Bring Your Own Device Creates Opportunities—and Challenges

BYOD stands for “bring your own device,” a workplace policy that encourages employees to use their personal smartphone for company tasks. More than half of U.S. businesses now have BYOD policies, Forrester Research says.

One motivation: It enables businesses to take full advantage of productivity-boosting mobile tools. The cost of buying every employee a smartphone often is a barrier to using those tools. Bring your own device eliminates that cost barrier and enables those tools to be used throughout the company.

But BYOD can also pose challenges if the policy isn’t paired with strategies that maximize security, savings and productivity.

3 Ways to ensure your BYOD policy is a success:

1. Recognize That Consumer Experiences Set Workplace Expectations

"Employees increasingly find that the applications used in their personal lives are better than those used at work," said Jon Arnold, Principal Analyst, J Arnold & Associates Research. “They are easier to access, easier to use, easier to personalize, more flexible.”

So when choosing collaboration and other workflow apps for employees to put on their personal smartphones, businesses should make sure they’re as intuitive and user-friendly as consumer alternatives. If they’re not, some employees will default to their personal favorites, leading to potential security or compliance risks. A prime example is storing confidential work files in a cloud service that doesn’t have enterprise-grade encryption and that an employer can't monitor so as to ensure regulatory compliance.

2. Retire Legacy Technologies.

Bring your own device is an opportunity for businesses to deploy cloud phone and other unified communications (UC) tools, whose mobile apps enable office-style collaboration anytime, anywhere, including integration with CRM platforms.

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions are even better because they free businesses from the upfront and ongoing costs of owning UC infrastructure.

"The role that mobility plays, through both smartphones and tablets, is becoming more important to the UCaaS ecosystem. This is due, in part, to the nature in which UCaaS enables mobile workers to seamlessly access different forms of business communications tools from multiple devices," says Omar Javaid, Vonage chief product officer.

3. Expand Cloud Phone Beyond Cheap Talk

The BYOD trend is one reason why by 2020, more than 72 percent of U.S. workers will rely on smartphones and other mobile devices, IDC predicts. UCaaS enables businesses to wring maximum efficiency out of that trend.

Case in point: Road warriors and other mobile workers currently waste productivity with manual tasks such as entering calls into a CRM or billing system.

“With unified communications, all tracking can occur automatically as the worker’s mobile device synchronizes with business applications,” Javaid says. "This increases the accuracy of CRM information, while also boosting overall efficiency. Employees can dedicate resources to serving customers or prospects instead of performing time-consuming administrative duties."

With so many productivity and other benefits, bring your own device is no fad; it's a trend that's here to stay. That also means businesses can't put off developing a BYOD strategy to tackle its challenges and maximize its benefits. Starting with these three aspects lays the foundation for a successful bring your own device implementation.

For more information on creating a BYOD strategy at your business, contact a Vonage representative.

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