Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Mobile IoT, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

Microservices Expo: Article

Developing BYOD Strategies: Follow the Workers

Dell survey highlights importance of putting users before devices when developing BYOD strategies

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend has rapidly morphed from a disruptive worry into a strategic, positive initiative for many organizations across the globe, according to results from a new global survey released today.

In fact, significant business benefits often follow when BYOD-adopter companies empower their employees with their preferred devices and work habits, as well as more say in the applications and  data access they need to get their jobs done … anytime, from anywhere, the survey shows.

What's more, the rapidly improved productivity and enhanced collaboration among employees -- as well as greater communication and better service with customers, suppliers and partners -- are proving to be competitive advantages for companies that do BYOD best.

The survey was recently conducted by Dell Software Group and market researcher Vanson Bourne from nearly 1,500 IT executives around the world. It clearly demonstrates that, while BYOD shows promise, many organizations are struggling with making the most of BYOD. [Disclosure: Quest Software, part of Dell's Software Group, is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The majority of survey respondents agree that BYOD strategies deliver benefits -- more than 70 percent said they believe that BYOD can boost employee productivity and customer response time, and 59 percent say they feel their company could be at a competitive disadvantage if they didn't implement BYOD.

It's important that organizations define a program to help manage and protect their corporate information, but also to empower employees to do their jobs better and faster.

And attitudes toward the innovation impact that BYOD has are largely the same among the midsized (between 1,000 and 3,000 employees) and large (more than 3,000 employees) companies surveyed. Roughly half of respondents in both groups say that BYOD has significantly changed the business culture at their organizations.
Yet less than half of the IT leadership respondents -- 44 percent -- say they understand the importance of a user-centric approach to BYOD. And this is where many organizations are missing the boat, according to Dell Software.

"It's important that organizations define a program to help manage and protect their corporate information, but also to empower employees to do their jobs better and faster, or to improve customer satisfaction, or whatever the goal is," says Roger Bjork, Director of Enterprise Mobility Solutions at Dell Software Group. "Companies that do BYOD for a purpose, to help with a broader goal, are seeing better results versus those who simply let BYOD happen. A big part of that is focusing on the user aspect, and not limiting it to a device discussion."

To me these results should remove doubt that embracing desktop virtualization (VDI) and mobile device management are priorities for IT. I also think that BYOD is a catalyst to more general IT transformation and more business-centric emphasis for IT innovation. You could say that BYOD forms a capstone on the rising archway of VDI, web apps, thin clients, terminal services, and other applications delivery advancements overt the past 15 years.
The idea, of course, going back to the very first PCs, is to let the user decide how to work best.

Benefits of putting users first

Indeed, those survey respondents who say they believe the user-centric approach to BYOD is the right one also reported they are able to drive business benefits, satisfy users and gain a competitive edge to a higher degree than survey respondents who don't see the benefit of a user-centric approach. Some 64 percent of respondents say BYOD works well when the specific user needs are understood by IT.

And respondents at companies further along in their BYOD strategy implementations are more likely to agree that the most benefit is derived from programs that put the user first. Understanding individual user needs and the resulting improvements in employee productivity and satisfaction are much more important pillars of a BYOD strategy than simply allowing employees to use the device in their pocket or purse for work, says Bjork.

The survey data definitely shows companies that have well thought-out BYOD strategies have fewer issues and are garnering better results.

"You do a disservice if you make this about what shiny object do employees want to use to connect to email. It's much broader than that," he says. "I think the survey data definitely shows companies that have well thought-out BYOD strategies have fewer issues and are garnering better results."

A one-size fits all approach to BYOD does not work, says Bjork,  IT should manage the spread of BYOD. "You can't just let BYOD happen," he added.

A user-centric approach to BYOD fits with the recent trend for IT to transform into a service-delivery organization that understands not only the goals of the business, but how to support employees to help them achieve these goals, adds Bjork. What's more, as the Millennial Generation enters the workforce with certain digital expectations, user-centric BYOD policies can be leveraged as recruiting tools.
"Let's face it, this is not just a mobile thing. It has a much broader impact," says Bjork. "BYOD is a method, not a result. … You should start by asking 'What is the user trying to accomplish?'"

The bottom line is that IT now needs to support multiple ways of working for a variety of styles and devices that appeal and adjust based on user preferences and innovations.

Additional points

Other noteworthy points that arose from the survey:

  • Survey participants in the U.S. are least likely to stress users over devices when crafting a BYOD strategy, while respondents in Singapore were most likely to do so. Other geographies covered by the survey include the U.K, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, India and the Beijing region of China;
  • Respondents listed more flexible working hours, the ability to foster creativity, speed innovation, boost morale and facilitate teamwork and collaboration as personal gains for employees working with BYOD strategies;
  • Organizations that consider applications as part of a their BYOD strategy are more likely to link and manage devices per user; clearly define roles for their user community in one central database; track and support each user's level of mobility, and deliver applications to users based on their role within the company. Of those with no formal BYOD policy, 27 percent say they can't provide any of these functions;
  • The top five BYOD challenges listed by survey respondents are abuse of policies; theft/loss of mobile devices; lack of control over applications and data on devices; employees leaving the company with insider knowledge; and unauthorized data distribution.

Dell's position on the importance of a user-centric BYOD strategy comes from experience. Carol Fawcett was the CIO of Quest Software, which was recently acquired by Dell, with nearly 4,000 employees in 23 countries. The company focused on giving employees access to the applications and data they needed to get their jobs done, regardless of what device was being used.

The results of this latest BYOD survey reinforce the importance of putting users first in order to develop the most effective policies and turn BYOD into a long-term, sustainable business benefit.

"We found this approach helped us quickly move out of device firefighting mode to be much more strategic, which also enabled us to resolve our biggest BYOD problems, such as security, access

rights and data leakage," says Fawcett. "The results of this latest BYOD survey reinforce the importance of putting users first in order to develop the most effective policies and turn BYOD into a long-term, sustainable business benefit."

As Quest found with its own workers, the better planned the BYOD acceptance, the fewer negative issues and the better the productivity result. I recently spoke with Fawcett at length about the experience.

I think we should also expect that BYOD planning will be done in association with -- and as an accelerant to -- other larger initiatives such as data center consolidation, IT transformation, and applications modernization.

Bjork further suggested that companies that have a policy-based approach to security and access control, and adopt services oriented architectures and data lifecycle management will be in a better position to avail themselves of BYOD faster and at lower risk. VDI and thin-client initiatives also pave the way to BYOD.

(BriefingsDirect contributor Cara Garretson provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached on LinkedIn.)

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

Microservices Articles
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
If your cloud deployment is on AWS with predictable workloads, Reserved Instances (RIs) can provide your business substantial savings compared to pay-as-you-go, on-demand services alone. Continuous monitoring of cloud usage and active management of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Relational Database Service (RDS) and ElastiCache through RIs will optimize performance. Learn how you can purchase and apply the right Reserved Instances for optimum utilization and increased ROI.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a common and reliable transmission protocol on the Internet. TCP was introduced in the 70s by Stanford University for US Defense to establish connectivity between distributed systems to maintain a backup of defense information. At the time, TCP was introduced to communicate amongst a selected set of devices for a smaller dataset over shorter distances. As the Internet evolved, however, the number of applications and users, and the types of data accessed and...
Consumer-driven contracts are an essential part of a mature microservice testing portfolio enabling independent service deployments. In this presentation we'll provide an overview of the tools, patterns and pain points we've seen when implementing contract testing in large development organizations.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...