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2/11/2014
03:00 PM
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BYOD Is Like Botox

Nothing is as powerful as a successful BYOD program, but that power becomes toxic when BYOD is treated as a cosmetic fix.

I recently learned that botulinum toxin -- more commonly known as Botox -- is a lethal but naturally occurring substance. It's one of the most toxic substances known, but when correctly applied has enormous therapeutic value -- not to mention its place in the cosmetic universe as a way to hold back the ravages of time by wiping out wrinkles and frown lines.

All this got me thinking that BYOD is essentially the same for enterprise IT -- it's a toxin, but one that can be used for good.

[You can say no to BYOD, but prepare to find alternatives to meet your users' needs. Read BYOD: Lessons On Negotiating Limits]

BYOD is also naturally occurring. From executives demanding iPad access, to sales managers sneaking in the latest Android device -- there's no stopping it. As such, its therapeutic value (increased productivity and cost reduction) is clear. It's also well understood that, when sanctioned, BYOD could just be the panacea needed to breathe life into a wrinkled IT organization aged by outdated practices. So what's the catch, you might ask -- surely this is good medicine we can all swallow? Well not necessarily, especially if you're in the "cosmetic BYOD" management game.

Unfortunately, like its medicinal toxic brethren, BYOD is often managed cosmetically -- liberally applied as a quick fix using a variety of tools to support an increasingly demanding and tech-savvy workforce. But as with any cosmetic remedy, the fix is often superficial, doesn't last forever, and worse, still can lead to some pretty severe and unintended consequences -- a little like those celebrity cosmetic surgery disasters on the cover of gossip magazines.

So here are five tips for avoiding the perils of cosmetic BYOD while still "beautifying" your productivity.

BYOD side effects -- Medical practitioners strongly advise against administering something as powerful as Botox in settings without professional supervision. The same applies to BYOD, with IT and security professionals helping alleviate risks and protect business health from "shadowy" practices. Using our toxin analogy, this includes dealing with side effects and infections (security and risk exposures), nerve damage (telecom expense blowouts), or allergic reactions (ill-prepared infrastructure).

Acceptable toxicity levels -- BYOD projects fail miserably when IT departments enforce restrictive policies and controls. This is partially due to shortcomings in management technologies that don't support the privacy concerns of employees who are loathe to let IT anywhere near their personal apps and content. 

Advances in mobile app and content management will of course help -- for example, containerizing an employee's apps and data -- but they should also support enterprise requirements like geo-fencing secure locations or encrypting highly sensitive information.

IT pros should also expect the unexpected, building the scale needed support the next good toxin (like wearable tech). So if you think you know the number of devices and apps that need managing – quadruple it and then assess your capabilities.

Beauty in the eye of the beholder -- Employees from the CEO to a service desk analyst will measure the effectiveness of a BYOD program based on its ability to support the "me factor." IT professionals must of course build the flexibility to support personal preferences, but without the cost burden of maintaining multiple tools. Also critical will be the speed and agility needed to support the simple things in business we all take for granted like providing secure content management and email. Remember, if you can't provide ubiquitous, usable, and secure functions, employees won't blame their device, they'll blame IT and then work around it.

Age goes with beauty -- The beautiful Retina display of the iPad Air, or the processing power of the Samsung Galaxy S4, mean nothing if they're office paperweights. This means IT departments should always consider including the cost of integrating back-office systems and applications into any BYOD initiatives.

One CIO I know did just this. Under pressure to initiate a BYOD program, he realized that success depended on re-architecting legacy back-end systems to support a mobile workforce. As such, he determined an accurate cost of the work over a three-year period and factored this into his business case and budget plans.

What made this compelling for the business wasn't just employee device support, but also the productivity gains realized when mobile sales teams could securely connect to systems at the head office and avoid the error-prone double handling of data. Additionally, quantifiable business metrics like sales order processing time are being used to gauge BYOD success -- which, when combined with intangibles like employee satisfaction, is a real win-win.  

Another commonsense approach is for IT to build mobile support into its own legacy service management tools, especially the service desk. This not only improves support, but demonstrates to mobile-savvy employees that IT is leading the BYOD charge.

Time waits for no one -- The old saying that today's IT project is tomorrow's maintenance legacy applies equally to BYOD management. As BYOD takes hold, business unit managers will demand faster delivery of mobile apps, or access to new cloud services that are better engineered to support mobile.

Therefore, IT leaders must constantly review application delivery practices, security policies, and integration and infrastructure enhancements needed to ensure BYOD doesn't wither and die on the proverbial vine.

BYOD is happening, whether IT likes it or not. Successful programs balance the needs of employees with robust yet non-intrusive management features.

As your BYOD journey continues, let the good toxin flow but always make sure real business benefits are not compromised by cosmetic quick fixes. 

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Peter Waterhouse is a senior technical marketing advisor for CA Technologies' strategic alliance, service providers, cloud, and industry solutions businesses. View Full Bio

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J_Brandt
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J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
2/14/2014 | 10:47:25 AM
The Real Issues?
The big issue isn't necessarily BYOD or COPE (both have pros and cons).  The real issue isn't really even trying to combine two somewhat incompatible objectives.  The real issue is deploying the devices without the proper policies and security procedures and without an education and awareness program.  I thought maybe the banking industry had the right idea, but can even they hold out against the consumer tsunami? 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/13/2014 | 8:30:28 AM
Re: Don't Necessarily Apply Liberally
I wonder how many companies put their BYOD policies in place because of the iPhone.  I have to admit that part of this was driven by the iPhone but it wasn't just the C level management who had them, I was one of the guilty parties.  That probably made things easier since I wasn't guessing at what problems people were going to run into.  
PeteJW
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PeteJW,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2014 | 3:38:27 PM
Re: Don't Necessarily Apply Liberally
Love it - business outcomes andf the characteristics of your workforce  driving the BYOD program -- great approach and yielding immediate tangible benefits
PeteJW
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PeteJW,
User Rank: Strategist
2/12/2014 | 3:27:43 PM
Re: Have you considered COPE?
Interesting miauer1956 - I was recently talking to a CIO who described this very same approach. She didn't call it COPE, but was quick to point out it wasn't BYOD. What she did stress, however, was the need for rigorous controls especially around secure access, app and content management. 
mlauer1956
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mlauer1956,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/12/2014 | 1:13:57 PM
Have you considered COPE?
I spend my day consulting with companies struggling with the enigma of adopting BYOD programs.  It smells great on the surface but sometimes gets nasty.

What I am beginning to speak to is COPE: Corporate Owned Employee Liable.  To be succinct, many organizations have realized that the perceived cost savings of a BYOD program may actually exceed the overall cost and time investment if they provide devices to their employees but give them the ability to use them as personal devices outside of work.

This means protecting sensitive Company data in email/PIM, documents and other applications coupled with secured controlled access by these devices to Corporate network infrastructure  and controlled focused business usage during the work day.  Technology exists today which facilitates all these requirements.  Globo Mobile Technology is one vendor of many providing these solutions.

I would rather have a homeopathic solution to removing my wrinkles rather than a shot of BOTOX for a temporary fix.  I believe that the COPE approach is gaining momentum across the nation because of this.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/12/2014 | 11:53:56 AM
Cosmetic BYOD
Is cosmetic BYOD found more commonly in a certain size company or in certain verticals? Maybe another example of focusing too much on short term goals?
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2014 | 9:04:23 AM
Re: Don't Necessarily Apply Liberally
That's a great approach, SaneIT. We did something similar a number of years ago after our CEO got his first (and the company's first) iPhone. We quickly flipped the situation and devised a strategic plan for how to handle the non-company-owned devices.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2014 | 8:56:01 AM
Re: Don't Necessarily Apply Liberally
I agree that instituting a BYOD policy as part of a reactionary policy is a dangerous idea.  If planned correctly it can fill in the gaps of existing policies though.  We've had a BYOD policy for about 3 years now and it was mainly because we have many contract employees and employees who do not have offices connected to our corporate offices.  We designed services around standards that would allow them access to corporate resources from a variety of devices.  This lets us minimize remote support for hardware and removes our old practice of mailing hardware around the country to exchange damaged devices.  We don't have a completely open BYOD policy and allow just any device but we do try to keep the range wide enough that it's not frustrating for our employees to find something that fits their needs. 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
2/12/2014 | 8:28:12 AM
Re: Don't Necessarily Apply Liberally
As my boss, our COO, likes to say, we need to be very intentional about our BYOD strategy. Reactionary behavior is what tends to cause legal and security risks. Think it through and make decisions that have the future end-state in mind. BYOD can be done very well, but that won't happen by accident.
PeteJW
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PeteJW,
User Rank: Strategist
2/11/2014 | 6:03:27 PM
Re: Powering the BYOD movement!
Well said - security of the devices will be essential, as will  dynamically controlling app and content classifiaction and access policies at a very granular granular level - BUT - still retaining the native app experience specific to the device. Security will be bypassed if the user has to sacrifice usability.
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