Giving your employees choice at work: BYOD and CYOD

By Simon Gale

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In previous blogs, I have talked about the Digital Workplace and one of its key attributes: user-centric IT. Now, I want to explore a feature of that a little further, the idea of “choice,” including the ideas of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Choose Your Own Device (CYOD).

It’s fair to say that for many organisations, this represents one of the biggest challenges: how to offer employees choice in an environment that has been built around a single version of a single operating platform which is configured to run on a specific device.

It’s payback for all those years creating more and more complex builds and relying on hardware manufacturers to retain the consistency of key components and on the provider of the operating system to leave it unchanged for significant periods and supported for even longer!

It is possible and also very desirable to offer choice. Offering choice can enable lines of business to make use of the best device for any given role/task. It can enable users to select the device which best suits them: Choose Your Own Device (CYOD), and it can offer the opportunity to embrace Bring Your Own (BYOD). Between them, these things can directly result in increased productivity, greater business efficiency, improved user satisfaction, and greater engagement. Ultimately this will mean better client relationships, improved sales, and reduced costs.

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Let’s explore the three types of choice in more detail…

Business’ choice

For a long time business has been provided with a “standard” device on the basis that it saved money. But, with markets changing ever more rapidly and consumers having greater choice than ever before, this standard device has become a hindrance rather than an asset. Offering business leaders across the organisation the opportunity to select devices that are more attuned to work patterns, the processes they need to support, and the specific goals and objectives of that business unit, allows IT to become an enabler, even a promoter, of change and growth.

Choose Your Own

There is a growing body of evidence from organisations in many sectors that shows that allowing users to choose their preferred device — even from a restricted list — leads to increased productivity and reduced support costs. A CYOD can improve employee engagement with the organisation and can help in both recruitment and retention of staff. As consumers, we all have choice and we all have increasingly high expectations of technology, organisations must reflect that in the way they deliver and support technology for business use.

Bring Your Own

Arguably the extreme version of CYOD, and something that divides opinion like few other topics in IT today, BYOD is what many organizations are turning to. Hopefully, we have passed the initial wave of enthusiasm and reached a point where we can and do make reasoned judgements on its suitability for our organisation and for discrete groups of workers within our organisation.

There are some key advantages to consider before making a decision to adopt BYOD: it can bring significant benefits in the areas of engagement and productivity, it can deliver significant savings, for example through not having to provide contractors with corporate devices, and when it’s done right it should not result in significant set-up costs or in an increased level of risk.

Are you ready for your changing workforce?

Written By

Simon Gale

CTO Mobility & Workspace Services UKI at IBM Global Services

Simon Gale is an Associate Partner and CTO for Mobility & Workplace Services in the UK & Ireland at IBM. In almost twenty years working in end-user computing, he’s seen technologies come and go but always held the belief that the essential goal is ensuring that the business,…

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