Your BYOx strategy: Preparing your enterprise network for everything

By Jonathan Crowl

First, there was the company-owned cellphone that required business professionals to carry two phones at once. Then, there was the slightly altered COPE policy, which featured company-owned devices that were personally enabled by individual workers.

Later came the era of BYOD, which offered a better user experience and greater device flexibility without compromising security. However, today’s businesses have far more than smartphones to wrestle with when it comes to mobile device management. This is the era of BYOx — bring-your-own-everything — and it functions as a natural progression of the culture BYOD policies have fostered.

Businesses around the world have embraced BYOD strategies in recent years. According to MarketsandMarkets, BYOD and enterprise mobility is projected to become a $73.3 billion market by 2021. CBS MoneyWatch notes two-thirds of all workers currently use their personal devices at work.

However, the growth of the IoT, cloud-based solutions and mobile applications have democratized the tools and solutions that drive better workplace performance. As a result, the BYOD policies many companies use fail to adequately cover the full range of solutions workers are bringing into enterprise mobile environments.

Enterprises shouldn’t be afraid of this change. As with BYOD, BYOx has the potential to transform organizations and workers for the better. However, to make a seamless transition, businesses need to understand how this evolving strategy fits into their larger IT goals.

Understanding what counts as BYOx

This movement is about much more than smartphones and tablets. It encompasses a broad range of technologies workers might bring into the workplace to connect to the enterprise network. These policies cover wearables and other mobile-connected hardware, but they also include software, applications and even cloud solutions employees personally own and bring to the enterprise to support their job tasks.

The need for such technological diversity makes sense. If you’re a marketer, you might own access to an analytics tool that helps you uncover valuable insights and do your job more effectively. Your company might not have access to this solution, but you can use your personal access to bring it into the enterprise environment. This is a perfect example of the mobile strategy in action: When used correctly, this open environment can make it easier to quickly drive results, collaborate with team members and raise the bar for productivity.

Download Gartner report on managed mobility services

The benefits of these policies can extend all the way from entry-level positions to C-suite executives. Every employee gains agility with access to a broader range of solutions. However, there are challenges organizations need to address in their IT strategies. With devices able to connect to double or even triple the number of business applications they’re currently using, companies need to consider and effectively manage the increased scale of the enterprise mobile network to maintain security as new solutions enter the environment.

Building a device policy for every circumstance

Security isn’t the only concern IT must address to reinforce an organization’s broader mobile device policy. There are also challenges related to working across different solutions and platforms, and integrating device solutions with back-end systems owned by the enterprise. In many industries, there are regulatory issues to consider as well.

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TechRepublic reports IT departments must take the lead in building a BYOx strategy that balances the user experience and employee productivity with the security requirements for the enterprise mobile environment. IT can evaluate which solutions, devices and other technologies are suited to connect to the enterprise environment.

Supporting IT’s criteria can be challenging when some employees see IT as a barrier: They worry that if they need IT’s approval to bring a solution into the environment, they’re at risk of being denied, forced to sacrifice that solution and its benefits. With this difficult dynamic in mind, IT should strive for a transparent process that explains to employees the function of enterprise mobility management and the importance of vetting solutions as they enter the environment.

In general, employees need better education so they understand the role of EMM and their own roles in supporting this service. Without this educational component, it’s difficult to ask employees to adhere to specific guidelines. Workers need to know the reason for this process. Otherwise, they can’t be expected to uphold their end of the agreement.

Ultimately, only IT can determine what solutions are best suited to the enterprise mobile environment. However, by working better with employees to identify and incorporate beneficial solutions, businesses have plenty to gain by embracing and developing a BYOx strategy and expanding their suite of beneficial solutions and technology.

Written By

Jonathan Crowl

Reporter

Jonathan Crowl has served as a tech writer and reporter for a number of tech publications and corporations. Specializing in mobile technology and digital startups, he is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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