At the moment, there’s plenty of talk about how the growth in smartphones and tablets will stretch IT departments through the user-driven ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) phenomenon.
The figures alone demonstrate that this is a significant market opportunity the channel can’t afford to ignore. The recent Worldwide Tablet Computer Market Forecast from Infinite Research claims that over the next five years, total shipments of tablet computers to enterprises around the world are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48% with shipments rising from 13.6 million units in 2011 to 96.3 million units in 2016.
How is this changing the enterprise?
Well, since people now expect to connect to enterprise networks with their personal mobile devices once they’re at their desks, it’s driving demand for secure, wireless networks but it’s also putting more pressure on IT departments to put plans in place for supporting this trend.
But how should companies address BYOD?
As a first step, BYOD should be treated as a subset of a broader mobility strategy in an organisation.
To set up BYOD policies, firstly companies need to define their objectives to achieve results tailored to their business needs. Dependent on individual company goals, BYOD can achieve the following:
- Help boost overall productivity
- Simplify access to information
- Reduce a company’s mobile spending
- Satisfy user demands for device choice and improve worker morale
Therefore the main benefits include:
- Increasing the accessibility of information
- Driving advancements in corporate technology
- Lowering costs
- Simplifying applications and delivery mechanisms
- Helping to support green initiatives: less devices = lower carbon footprint
- Providing a better remote working-life balance
The importance of partnerships
To help implement new BYOD standards that suit business needs efficiently and effectively, the support of a well-established solutions distribution partner is a viable option. With this type of partnership, resellers can build on core competencies and deliver new solutions which help customers adapt to the demands of flexible, mobile working.
It’s important to realise though, that there’s no ‘one solution fits all’ with BYOD. Resellers need to help their customers look at the entire technology ecosystem, including considering Mobile Device Management (MDM) as well as how they implement apps and manage access control.
Mobile Device Management, otherwise known as ‘MDM’
At the moment, a key technology which is driving and enabling BYOD adoption is mobile device management (MDM). Some analysts predict that revenue in the MDM space will grow by 15% to 20% in the next three years – as BYOD drives the explosion of mobile devices and applications, mobile monitoring is becoming more of a requirement.
It’s essential to address MDM when looking at implementing a BYOD policy – in a nutshell: MDM is the ability for organisations to secure, monitor, manage and support mobile devices with access to the enterprise communication infrastructure.
What does MDM do?
The MDM software allows corporate IT departments to manage multiple devices using Over-The-Air programming (OTA). MDM’s role is multifaceted as it enables an organisation to configure, enrol devices, enforce policies, enable effective information security and assist with resolving technical issues – addressing all of the key challenges. Management can also include configuring single or multiple devices along with making software and operating updates. In addition, MDM permits organisations to lock and wipe devices in the event of loss or theft.
All of these features reduce support costs and minimise risk.
Essential for BYOD: application publishing
Paramount to MDM is application publishing and organisations need to identify which applications they can leverage – be it communication, productivity or virtual desktop tools – to help drive innovation and success throughout their organisation.
For example, companies are implementing productivity apps like: presentation tools and Business Intelligence (BI) application viewers; collaboration apps such as: unified communications, messaging, cloud storage and intranet access tools; and remote desktop apps like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions.
BYOD company checklist: for customers
Once you have helped your customer consider the benefits and goals of BYOD for their company, a good way of working out if their BYOD strategy is comprehensive is to tick off the following areas of concern:
Some questions you can ask your customers are:
- What devices need to be supported?
- Which applications will be used?
- Are data and app ownerships clearly defined?
- Do you have a security policy in place?
- Do you have an acceptable use policy for employees?
- What’s the employee exit strategy when connecting to the corporate network?
The opportunity for the channel lies in BYOD implementations because this typically includes both server and client components. With BYOD, a reseller’s role is not just to support customer rollouts with hardware, software and services but to understand and advise customers on policy definition and process support. Without getting the strategy and application publishing right, BYOD is just a buzz word.