BYOD In Practice

I recently wrote that Mobile is just part of the larger Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). One thing I didn’t tackle in that post is a practical look at how BYOD works in application.

When you tackle BYOD, there are a lot of things to consider in order to insure the proper security of all the information. It is simple to create a long laundry list of guidelines. The key is to make sure they don’t inhibit the benefits or users will work around the system.

Let’s look at how I work in the BYOD world.

Breaking Down the Devices

One year ago, I needed a new laptop. I had the option of IT providing me one from the department or buying one of my own at a similar cost against that same budget. Not wanting the same brand that AIIM buys by default, I went and bought from my preferred laptop vendor. When I did this, I acknowledged that IT might not be able to assist in hardware related issues. I’m technical enough that it wasn’t a concern.

I use a tablet and a phone. My tablet of choice is a little Galaxy Tab I got almost 2 years ago because it fits in my pocket. Sometimes I use my iPad because it has a data plan and I know that I’ll want to do something that would be challenging on my phone.

I use Evernote fairly extensively for note taking and constructing my to-do lists. It is perfect because it follows me around on all my devices.

Through it all, email is the most important application. Try as we might to replace it, it is the killer app. I use it differently on each device.

  • Phone: I keep track of what is going on and send short emails to keep things moving along. If I need to write a long email, I wait until I can get on a device with a better input capability unless it is critical. I can review attachments in a crunch but given the small screen size, I prefer not to do so.
  • Tablet: I’ll reply to most emails on my tablet as long as I don’t have to mess with attachments or reference old emails. I can do those things in a pinch but I don’t enjoy it. Attachment management is much easier on my Android tablet than my iPad.
  • Laptop: I do it all. I also manage my emails here, sorting and filing them away as necessary. The interface is just much more conducive to that kind of work.

Other people have different patterns. I know some that do a large portion of their work on Macs with just about everything else on their iPads. Some work almost exclusively on their laptops.

And IT has to support it all.

It isn’t easy without the proper systems. Few established, older, organizations have those today. At AIIM, we’re having to replace one system because it required Windows operating systems to use and that isn’t practical. Right now there are people nursing old computers along because they want to buy that Mac when the switch is made.

And that has to change.

Forget Mobile, BYOD for the Win

Okay, let’s do a little thinking outside the Silicon Valley box today. Let’s start off by assuming that if you are a regular reader of my blog, you likely have 1-2 “mobile” devices that you use frequently. If you have one of the larger tablets like the iPad, you’ve likely tried attending a conference with only your tablet.

Here’s the trick. I bet every single one of you, once you return to your office immediately starts working on a PC. Before you protest, keep in mind those Macs are Personal Computers (PC), as are those new-fangled Ultrabooks.

Let’s face it, when creating information of even moderate complexity, you still can’t beat a PC. If you need to multitask between applications, PCs win every time.

Mobile adds a new dimension to how you do things. It allows users to be more flexible in when they work. It requires IT to be more flexible in providing solutions.

The use of mobile devices doesn’t alleviate the need to think about the PC or to make it a priority.

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