“As focus is placed on integrating UC with BYOD, it will drive higher adoption of readily available UC features and capabilities to all devices, including smartphones, PCs, tablets and readers."
— Denise Culver, research analyst with Heavy Reading IP Services Insider
As the BYOD market grows, more and more businesses have turned to unified communications (UC) strategies for consistent collaboration and a true, mobile workforce mentality.
However, planning a UC strategy has its challenges in the BYOD culture. Multiple devices mean multiple operating systems, and the question of resources, costs, security and consistent user experience. Below, we’ve outlined our top three considerations when exploring a unified communications plan that’s built for the BYOD business.
1. Track Net Costs
BYOD work environments mean there’s no need for management to supply corporate devices. Employees come to work equipped with a phone or tablet, along with their developed skillset. The device is owned and paid for by the employee, although some businesses may provide a stipend, and the device is used for personal and professional purposes.
For businesses, BYOD means an initial cut in overall capital expenditures. However, there are other factors (and costs) to keep in mind.
While hardware costs decrease, operating expenditures may increase as your IT department is often tasked with servicing multiple devices. They must be well versed on a variety of devices and operating systems to deploy a consistent UC strategy across multiple personal devices.
Ensure your business’ save on capital expenditures is not overshadowed by the cost of supporting personal devices on the corporate network.
2. Secure Corporate Information and Processes
BYOD poses an obvious challenge in terms of security with sensitive, corporate information stored on devices and accessible outside the workplace. Secure BYOD demands the management features of a unified communications or MDM system.
Ensure all devices are password protected and registered with the ability to remote wipe if necessary in case the device is ever lost or stolen. Use UC processes to help your business stay ahead of the latest loopholes for devices and operating systems. Keep employees informed on the latest security threats and have systems in place to protect devices used even a little for company purposes.
3. Consistent Operations
Just because your team may be using different devices, it doesn't mean you cannot all use the same systems, processes and applications. UC enables multiple devices to have a similar user experience—without losing the personal device preference.
Consider setting up sandboxes on personal devices so your team can keep professional and personal profiles separate. It enables the device to retain its personal feel (apps, pictures, videos, music) without the risk of losing personal information, but helps IT maintain control over devices and applications accessing the network.
While BYOD presents IT challenges, it’s also an opportunity for improved business processes and productivity. Consider all the opportunities and obstacles BYOD demands, then plan a UC strategy accordingly to protect business assets and maintain business processes.
Do you work in an office with a BYOD culture? What challenges have you encountered when implementing a UC strategy?