By Stevan Hoyle, president for Middle East and Africa as well as commercial, marketing and innovation director, Vodafone Global Enterprise
IT catchphrases come and go, but over the past few years ‘bring your own everything’ (BYOx) has become more than a passing fad. It represents an important cultural shift driven by changing workplace demographics and the expectations of a new digital generation, a shift that businesses large and small should not ignore.
By definition, the ‘x’ in BYOx can stand for any and every device, connection, app or software. In reality, what the ‘x’ really represents is any technology that employees use in their personal lives and increasingly want and expect access to in the office, with or without permission.
Digital natives taking over
Demand from employees to bring their own ‘x’ to the office will only grow as more digital natives, who value the freedom to work how they want, fill the workplace. For the majority of so-called Generation Y workers, born between 1981 and 2000, the ability to work flexibly is now considered a key priority [Deloitte: Workplaces of the Future: Creating an Elastic Workplace 2013].
Creating a structured and secure environment where these employees can use their preferred device where they want and when they want will become critical to retaining and attracting the highest calibre of staff from the new digital generation.
Organisations must look at how they can leverage BYOx to keep employees connected and drive up productivity while providing the freedom to work around personal priorities and commitments. With the right tools in place, employees can work the way they want, easily joining client meetings via voice and video, and finish projects from home. This flexibility, in turn, can contribute to higher productivity, job satisfaction and morale.
Bringing the ‘x’ to work
Whether your organisation is already taking steps to embrace BYOx or not, your employees will still bring their own ‘x’ to the work place. In this new reality, having the right strategy in place is critical. Businesses are compromising data security if they do not put a BYOx framework, policies and guidelines in place for employees. It is crucial to protect the business against vulnerabilities created by a proliferation of uncontrolled and non-approved devices, connections and apps.
Here are three steps to keep you on track with BYOx:
- Ensure your organisation has a strong strategy for managing BYOx. It’s essential you have the right frameworks, policies, guidelines and services in place. Ensure your IT department designs a clear framework for the devices, connections and apps that will and will not be supported and provide the correct training for your employees. Ensure they understand that you want to give them flexibility, enhance their work life balance, and encourage productivity; but also that there is a framework that employees must operate within. Let your employees know the reasons why that framework is important for them as individuals and for the business. If your employees understand the processes and frameworks the business follows, everyone’s life will run a lot more smoothly.
- Take advantage of the range of services available to reinforce your security measures; for example, cloud based security services and mobile device management services. It’s important to have a varied portfolio of tools to help safeguard your business with the best possible security. Cloud-based security services can ensure all traffic to and from devices is scanned to safeguard against malicious attacks and block inappropriate content before it reaches the network. Mobile device management services can manage and lock devices remotely, while content stored on the device can be erased if the device is lost or stolen.
- Give your employees every reason to comply with your mobility strategy by making the experience as simple, flexible and user friendly as possible. Choose a partner that can help the business transition to BYOx by managing contracts, provisioning, bills and service directly for end users. Enable end users to share the cost of using their favourite technology with their employer, and reap the rewards of a happier and more productive workforce.
Vodafone Global Enterprise provides telecommunications and information technology services to large corporations.