I’ve read a few articles recently about bringing your own device (BYOD) to the workplace and it seems to crop up in various conversations in our office. It’s certainly an interesting talking point and one which, over time, will generate plenty of discussion between people in different roles within an organisation.
From what I’ve observed, the points raised by people are essentially this:
General Office Worker – it’s the company’s responsibility to provide equipment and look after it.
Senior Manager – as long as I can connect my iPad to the network and get various pieces of information, I’m happy.
Technical Role-based Worker – if the company gives me a rise in salary to cover it (or a suitably high enough spec), I’d much rather choose the devices I work with. I’m happy to put some of my own funds towards getting even higher spec equipment if this means I can work faster/better. I’m more capable of looking after my device than our IT team so I just need the right security clearance.
IT Manager – I’m glad I don’t have to look after the equipment, but the security issue is a big problem. Having so many different types of device puts too much pressure on the IT team. I don’t want people using applications that they have installed for their personal use connected to my network.
It does seem as though most workers I speak to (in the techie world don’t forget) are in favour of BYOD, but that their respective IT teams are not. The IT managers seem protective of their network (not unwisely) and will have to shift, psychologically as well as practically, if BYOD were to be successful within their organisation. I suspect that BYOD will creep in as more people use tablet and mobile devices to access organisational data. As more and more business applications move to either public or private cloud-based hosting models (see Office365 as a good example), I suspect there will simply be less need for the device to be owned by the business; to me, that seems like a huge positive.
I’m a PC. Or, at least, I thought I was.
When the wife bought her first iPhone (3GS) a few years ago, I chortled at the incredulity of such a device. After all, it’s just an iPod with an additional feature. A year later, I sneaked my iPhone 4 into the house after having a brief dalliance with an HTC HD2 which, I’m afraid, was just awful.
The iPhone 4 was a work phone, but I went for it because I wanted the apps. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a problem with the phone aspect despite many people complaining about it’s ability to perform against a BlackBerry. But I didn’t have any real business use for it. Then I was presented with the prospect of iPad. Again, I didn’t see the use of it other than as a leisure tool, so I played around with it for a bit, brought it into the light now and again and mostly passed it to my three year old son to play games.
However, a colleague mentioned an app for iOS called Wunderlist, a task list that synchronises to the cloud so you can access your list anywhere. This was the start of a whole new relationship with Apple products. Suddenly I had a use for my two devices in addition to the usual Twitter/Email/Calendar functions. On the back of this, I’ve come across other applications, usually specific, that also help my daily life:
DropBox - Totally fills the HUGE gap in iPad’s lack of directory structure. I save files to my DropBox account on my desktop and no longer print things out. Ever.
OneNote - A recent creation, but now that I synchronise to my SkyDrive account, I just drop notes here or on my laptop and have cut down on my note taking.
Noteability - Similar to OneNote, but with some better features. I like the ability to draw/scribe, but I will have to buy a ‘stylus’ to use it better.
Microsoft Lync - How awesome to be able to chat to colleagues and collaborate wherever I am. To be fair, the greatness is in the core product, not the app, but the fact that I can do it on the iPad or iPhone is fantastic.
There is a huge array of apps that I just don’t know about. (If you have any you recommend, please add a comment below.)
So, whereas I struggled to see how Apple could do it, now I believe they just might make a significant inroad into the corporate, enterprise market.
Further reading: http://ow.ly/8s53a
It seems everyone in the office (alright, not everyone) is talking about mobility options for CRM. Why? To me it seems the latest craze in the ever changing CRM world and I don’t think it’s completely founded on need.
Having worked in the CRM world for ten years now, I’ve seen fads come and go, and the need for mobile solutions for CRM has also come and gone. I remember, particularly, how much people wanted CRM on PDAs, as they were then referred to. It failed because the screens were too small, the connection wasn’t available and the core CRM products just tried to push the same desktop experience to the mobile device.
Is this any different now?
The screens are no longer small. Tablets are all the rage but they do genuinely allow you to at least look at information in a readable font size. Net connection on the device is also much better, although 3G coverage required to get a truly mobile experience is dicey in the UK at best. Because memory is so cheap (and small), storage capabilities have allowed offline capabilities. And you can now create a unique mobile experience cutting the unwanted view/screens/fields etc. to minimise data transfer.
There are several products we’ve been looking at at Concentrix TSG lately: CWR Mobility, Resco, TenDigits, SageCRM iPhone Client to name a few. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll write a quick review of each as I get to use them.
I accept that mobile CRM is more likely than ever to come to a useful fruition; I use my iPad all the time, albeit not for business. What is most interesting to me is whether the usability of the individual products dictate the device on which they should be used, or whether the opposite is true; that an MD’s insistence on using his iPad ensures total exclusivity.