Here is our list of things SMEs should consider before jumping in at the deep end with a new BYOD program:
- Applications – One of the key benefits of smart devices is that they support tens of thousands of apps designed to help employees do what they need to do more quickly and easily than before. However, not all apps are created equal, so it’s worth spending some time up front deciding which apps are a must. In this instance, less is more. Too many small businesses introduce a BYOD policy, but fall at the first hurdle by choosing applications that are unnecessary or over-complicated, so end up being a complete waste of money.
First and foremost, employees will need an application that gives them quick and easy access to incoming and outgoing mail. Not only will this help them keep track of important documents, but it will provide them with the flexibility to engage with customers at any time, from anywhere. Other useful applications to consider include social media tools and cloud-based storage.
- Integration – Choosing best-of-breed mobile applications isn’t always enough; it’s equally important that they integrate with the other applications already in use across the firm. After all, if your applications don’t sync, what’s the point? If you’re using a tool to facilitate a multi-channel or multi-format communication strategy, it’s important that it integrates with other relevant applications, such as Microsoft Word or Excel. If it doesn’t, then employees are going to waste valuable time needlessly uploading, downloading and locating the latest versions of documents.
- User profiles – To prevent a dreaded data leak, it’s vital that there are checks and balances around who can access business files from their devices. User profiles provide complete control over the files each employee can access, and make it easy to apply restrictions. They also allow the company to monitor usage to work out which services are accessed, when and from where. It may not be necessary for every employee to have complete access to all services and data from each device they use. Tailoring a user’s profile according to the type and frequency of access they require helps ensure support is not over-stretched in areas where it isn’t really needed.
- Formatting and storage – When a company provides all hardware and software applications, it is easy to standardize file formats so that everyone can work efficiently. When people are using their own devices this gets a lot trickier. Most people are aware of the compatibility problems that crop up around using Windows-based applications in the office but Apple Macs at home, but with BYOD the situation becomes even more complicated. It’s important that businesses take this into consideration and choose applications that deliver exactly the same experience on different devices and operating systems.
As you can see, there are some important considerations to take into account when implementing a BYOD strategy. These shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet. BYOD will happen whether they’re a policy or not, so it’s crucial to ensure that people don’t start using their own devices without proper protection, applications or support. It’s equally important that staff who haven’t embraced BYOD are encouraged to do so, otherwise it will have limited value to the business.