Unified Communications Nation

Mar 26 2012   1:13PM GMT

Move over BYOD, here comes BYOA

Gina Narcisi Gina Narcisi Profile: Gina Narcisi

ORLANDO — The mobility trend is growing by leaps and bounds within the enterprise, with BYOD taking center stage over the past couple of years. But now, BYOD is evolving into bring-your-own-applications (BYOA), Michael F. Finneran, Principal, dBrn Associates, Inc. explained at Enterprise Connect in Orlando today.

Not only do users want to use their own devices, but they want to use applications familiar to them to get work done. “Users want consumer hardware, as well as consumer-type devices,” Finneran said. While tools like Microsoft Lync are ok, LinkedIn is preferred by many users, as is Skype over other real-time video products developed specifically for the enterprise by the likes of Avaya and Polycomm he added.

BYOD is all well and good, but this is where a mobility strategy must come into play. It’s not crucial for IT to make users happy by allowing them to use their iPhones and applications they enjoy for work, Finneran said. It is critical for IT to create a balancing act with users, however, by making them accessible and enable them to easily reach the right person at the right time, while offering a certain level of support for certain devices.

“If you can’t beat them, join them — responsibly,” he said, noting that some companies have even begun offering something of an app store for its employees and their devices. Companies are learning that if the UC product or application is not easy to use or familiar to the employee, they won’t use it.

But the responsibilities of IT are not changing with the addition of the mobility component. “Their responsibilities are staying the same with a different set of tools in a different environment,” Finneran said. In developing a mobile strategy, identifying the right tools (Apple iPhones, Android and Blackberry devices, tablets and applications) appropriate for the company and user, and ensuring security without breaking the bank is where IT should begin.

From there, different use cases should be established — like what applications can/should be downloaded on the device, depending on the user’s job function, for example. IT also must consider device issues “from the cradle to the grave,” Finneran noted, explaining that the policy must address what happens when users lose or purchase a new device or leave the company, because IT can’t worry about whether or not they can wipe a device after a person has been terminated.

Since the game is always changing in mobility, a mobile policy just can’t be set and forgotten. BYOA is a major change and new struggle for IT departments, so addressing these issues early on can mitigate problems for enterprises later.

“The goal with mobility is to enable business transactions based on what tools are available, not necessarily making users smile,” Finneran said.

BYOD and BYOA are the little issues enterprises are facing now in the grand scheme of things, but the ability to improve business with available tools in a responsible fashion, all while balancing user experience will be the grand-scale concern as the need for mobility continues to grow.

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