Is BYOD really a question? If you didn’t bring your own device, whose would you bring?
The smartphone has become a ubiquitous feature of modern life, and integral to better business communication and engagement. Something like an external hard drive that we carry everywhere with us, our reliance on search engines and databases has allowed us to offload some functions of memory and cognition, and to carry what is essentially a world encyclopedia and library in our pocket.
A virtual assistant
But the smartphone is more than merely a research tool, or even a communication device. It is evolving with us, developing context and relevance, learning how to accommodate itself to our needs, and becoming an extension of our person. To exclude personal devices from work environments is to cut employees off from a useful tool as well as a source of empowerment and self-development. Realization of this inevitability is evident in the growth of the enterprise BYOD market, which is forecast to more than double from $35 billion in 2016 to $73 billion by 2021.
Serving the customer
If smartphones serve their owners well, they also provide excellent service and sales support. Nowhere is BYOD more useful than in enabling client-facing functions at high performing companies. BYOD is winning at sales and service, and empowering mission-driven teams in the field to collaborate and stay connected in real time. Better business communication and engagement, reduced inefficiencies, and more engaged employees is the result.
The rise of the virtual office is making traditional office phone systems increasingly redundant—and a weak prospect for meaningful ROI. Virtual phone systems can provide all the functionality and features, while undercutting the cost and unnecessary complexity of legacy systems
When problems arise, internally or externally, people want to be able to pick up the phone and reach a live person.
A competitive edge
The companies that have adjusted early to this trend are ahead of the curve. Harvard Business Review found BYOD trending in high performing, customer-oriented businesses, although the official policy has been slow to catch up. Drafting BYOD policies remain a challenge, especially for large corporations dealing with intellectual property and other privacy concerns.
The line between the private and the professional has become more and more blurred in our smartphone era. Users seamlessly transition between work and personal functions, or use smartphone features such as the camera to capture company data—for example, when a user snaps a picture of a whiteboard during a company meeting. Technological and legal solutions for every eventuality are just not practical. Privacy and security concerns like this will probably preoccupy developers and legal departments well into the future, as society continues to grapple with all the implications of increasingly omnipresent personal tech.
Security on BYOD is a breeze compared to the network edge, where IoT devices and sensors lurk in ordinary objects and unauthorized applications. BYOA (bring your own app) is actually a bigger problem for companies and IT departments. As technology continues to redefine work, securing your network won’t come from a single solution, but will have to be a comprehensive policy that is often revisited and revised.
The impetus behind BYOD is increased productivity and employee engagement, reduced hardware costs, lowered phone bills and data costs, and increased mobility. Having a single device streamlines business communication and reduces unnecessary friction, and employees are happier having just one smartphone to manage. As contractors and freelancers come and go, it is easier to manage from an application than to configure networks and add/delete/move phones around. For distributed and remote workforces, BYOD is an obvious solution. Better business communication and engagement, reduced costs and ease of use are some of the immediate benefits.
BYOD for SMB
For SMB’s, BYOD has simply become a fact of life, for several reasons. SMB’s are forced to be early adopters in order to compete, and the reduced hardware costs of BYOD are compelling. Both legacy PBX systems and VoIP cloud services come with hardware bills and sunk costs that are increasingly hard to justify. Nor does this huge expense insulate from the threat of obsolesce. Getting stuck with an expensive and complex phone system that will be virtually worthless in just a few years is a real danger for small businesses in the precarity of today’s changing telecom landscape.
And then, SMB’s can’t afford to lose out on the huge productivity boost BYOD offers. According to Cisco, the average BYOD worker saves an average of 81 minutes a day, while some workers are hyperproductive—saving up to two hours a day. BYOD employees work more, averaging an extra 240 hours a year.
Even when they are not performing official functions, they may be developing their skill set and knowledge base. They are able to view materials and learn at their own pace, supporting development and training goals. BYOD workers manage their time more efficiently, and have more control over their professional life. They value the independence and flexibility this confers upon them and are thus more loyal and devoted.
Although BYOD has meaningful cost-savings implications, the greatest benefit may be in increased employee satisfaction and engagement.
Today’s mobile workforce values empowerment and independence, and the companies that support them enjoy a more engaged workforce and profitable bottom line. Millennial workers thrive in flexible work arrangements, and prize the ability to work away from the office, and to work the hours they wish. Far from a reduction in productivity, flexible work arrangements are strongly linked to better business outcomes and talent retention.
Millennials also have a strong emotional attachment to their smartphones and prefer to remain connected to them. They are more likely to be responsive and engaged on their own devices, improving overall business communication and engagement. This is the main reason BYOD is more than a trend or even a disruptive platform aimed at legacy hardware. The smartphone is more than a communication tool or electronic device, it’s actually become a part of our personal identity and is integral to how we interface with others.
We’ve developed a secure app that allows you to easily connect and encrypt your entire BYOD network, including temporary workers, customers, and leads. Our smart system includes a variety of useful features such as a live calling directory that maintains itself, and hunt groups (which we call Smart-Teams). It also supports calendars and scheduling, as well as lookup calling and call transfer. There is even a feature to display call context and importance so you can alert the recipient as to why you are calling. Presence allows you to see if the other party is online, and, if you don't connect the first time, it will notify you when they are available.
are the future of the virtual office, and while there are challenges to successfully implementing them, the cost of waiting too long might mean losing a competitive edge when it comes to sourcing great talent, delighting customers, and better business communication and engagement.
To learn more about our security promise, and how we protect your mission-critical data, check out our security whitepaper, and when you're done, come join our free trial, no strings, no credit card required.