The Delicate Balance of BYOD

Pope Benedict XVI using a tabletOne of the projects I recently worked on was preparing a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for a financial institution. Having written the policy for AIIM, and other organizations over the years, it was a straightforward task. The real challenge was determining the right balance between convenience for employees and security for the organization.

Organizations are more and more willing to allow people to use their own devices, even though 30-35% of BYOD is invisible to an organization. The question is, “What are those organizations giving up?” What can organizations do so the restrictions placed on devices doesn’t make the employee feel like the device is no longer their personal device?

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Secure the Application, Not the Device

I was reading an article by Patrick Gray, A radical idea for Mobile Device Management: Don’t bother, when I realized that I wasn’t alone in this world. I have long viewed Mobile Device Management (MDM) as a Red Herring and it felt good to find an ally.

For years, people have fought against restrictions on their company computers. This has been part of the spur behind the Bring Your Own Device/App/Cloud (BYOD) movement of the past several years. Do we want to head down that same path with mobile devices where we are dealing with an even wider variety of devices and less inherent control over the operating system than we did before BYOD complicated things?

Let’s think this through.

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How Steve Jobs Ruined My Life, A CIO’s Confession

Life as a Chief Information Office used to be simple. They would hear about a new challenge facing the business. After learning the details, the CIO would go out and find a solution that would make the organization stronger than ever before. Systems weren’t perfect but they added value and everyone was happy.

Then Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

Oh sure, it started out wonderfully. He created the iPod which made the CD collection that had been built-up over the years dramatically more portable. Sure, the artistic vision that is the album started taking a hit but that wasn’t your problem unless you were in the music industry.

Then came the iPhone.

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Hyped Tech Lives Only to Solve Real Issues

One of the joys of working for AIIM is attending a wide variety of events. In fact, one of the unexpected joys is is the board meeting.408234_10151195570639391_1800285567_n The reason is it brings a lot of smart people in one room to talk about the Information industry’s direction. Every single person there genuinely cares about the future of the industry.

As a result, we have a lot of good discussions on the drivers moving the industry forward. Last year, prior to my joining AIIM, it was observed that Big Data, Social, Cloud, and Mobile were emerging and important issues that Information Professionals are having to start addressing.

This year, as we reviewed the list to see if the items were still relevant, we turned these concepts on their head.

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Mobile and The Convergence of Personal and Work Life

While breaking bread with a Box employee, Chris, last night, I had a revelation. Historically I’ve really only consider three types of workers that need a complete set of business tools on their mobile device.

  • Road Warriors: These people are never at their desk. Even if they don’t travel, they are always running between meetings at various locations.
  • Silicon Valley: Mobile is cool, we are cool, we have to use mobile. Doesn’t everyone use it?
  • Mobile Cult: They don’t live or work in Silicon Valley but they want to be that cool. Not only do they like to use their mobile device while at their desk, they carry it everywhere to show people. Have you seen their cool light saber app?

The point being that for the everyday worker, mobile computing was for our personal lives. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, books, games, and anything else to keep us entertained. Mobile work consisted mostly of emails and taking pictures of whiteboards.

The thing is, a funny thing has happened during the mobile revolution, our personal and work lives started to blur together into a single existence.

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The Connected Era, The (Pre) Post-PC World

I wrote a couple weeks back about not reading too much into the current mobile sales numbers. While Mobile devices are out-selling PCs, that doesn’t tell the whole story. People have multiple devices and replace their PCs much less often.

imageThere were a few responses. Dan Antion related his own recent travels without a PC and how we are moving Beyond the Chasm with mobile devices. Ron Miller took a more conciliatory approach that when he said that the term Post-PC was still open to interpretation.

To help illustrate my point, Dan Levin of Box tweeted that on his weekend trip, the 12 humans had 26 devices. I didn’t ask but I suspect that there were no laptops. Of course, going on a weekend trip, why take anything other than mobile devices? Of course, exceeding a 2:1 ratio is pretty impressive, especially consider that kids were in the count.

This anecdote lends itself both sides of the equation. It shows that by simply surpassing PC sales, mobile hasn’t done enough to move into the PC era as there are more mobile devices than people in many households. On the flip side, it clearly shows the proliferation of mobile tech.

Of course, 10 years ago, there may have been zero devices on that trip unless you counted the dumb cell phones. While some mobile devices are replacing the use of PCs, especially for travel, it is also filling a void. People now use a PC AND a mobile device, depending on the situation.

We aren’t in a Post-PC era, though will get there eventually. That doesn’t mean that Mobile support isn’t critical. It is critical because people always want to be connected. That is the key, connectivity. The whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) concept is really what is defining this era. The devices people started bringing were smart phones and Macs. Now it is tablets.

The shift to mobile is just part of the puzzle.

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It’s 2012 and We Are Still Working on Process

There are two great frustrations in my overall career. The first is that there is more unmanaged content now than there was when I started. The growth of Content Management just isn’t keeping pace with the growth of Content.

The second is the fact that we are still trying to automate the same types of processes now as we were when I first started in this industry in the 90s. My first project was a Correspondence Management System. Call it a mail room solution or whatever the latest slang dictates, the problem is the same one I was talking to a large agency about solving in January!

People are asking me to speak on Process and why projects go wrong. Cloud and mobile are dropping as stand-alone topics. They are becoming part of the discussion around how to solve the old problems with addition of these new tools.

Reinforcing the issue are a few fun facts from some recent AIIM research:

  • 45% of scanned documents are created digitally
  • 77% of invoices that arrive as PDF attachments get printed
  • 31% of faxed invoices get printed and scanned again

Depressed yet?

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