BYOD has been one of the few megatrends of the last few years together with cloud, social and big data. I’m a product of BYOD myself with my own iPhone and iPad that I’ve used as tools for getting work done for many years.
Although the iPad has proven a cool gadget that is really simple to get started with, real work where I need to produce documents, collaborate with others using SharePoint, work with Office documents and access corporate line of business applications complicate things.
It’s not that it is impossible to get all of these things done, it’s just that it’s not frictionless. Friction is your enemy when it comes to user adoption and productivity.
The introduction of iPad in the workplace has led people to expect a frictionless experience in the same way they experience that with their personal apps and data on the very same device. The problem is that there is a corporate boundary between the managed devices and your precious iPad that leads to friction with additional logins, more passwords and extra clicks to get to the right service or information compared to doing the same thing with the traditional, dusty and very uncool Windows XP laptop.
If you ask financial services companies, they will not allow exposing sensitive customer information to an unmanaged BYOD device, at least not in a frictionless manner. It’s not because the end users wouldn’t want it – they would LOVE it, but from a security point of view that is just not doable.
Why did BYOD become a trend in the first place? It’s because the managed devices provided from the employer are uncool, heavy, slow, old and not very pleasant to use. No-one is passionate about their corporate-provided laptop, that’s just against nature.
But suddenly comes the slick, nice, cool Surface Pro device. It’s comparable with the iPad in coolness, but it can provide you with a frictionless user experience because it can be a managed device that is inside the corporate boundary, part of the Actice Directory domain, with the disk fully encrypted. With DirectAccess you don’t need VPN or stuff like that. You can access your corporate CRM or line of business applications with single sign-on, collaborate with your collegaues using SharePoint, Office and Lync seamlessly.
I’m having that experience now, and I use this device in completely different ways compared to what I was able to do with my iPad.
BYOD is not a trend the CIO and CSO is applauding – they had to accept it because they had no valid alternatives that would be acceptable to demanding employees. Now they have a great alternative that represents a true win-win for both parties: a frictionless user experience giving access to more functionality and information within the corporate boundary, while at the same time being in control from the IT perspectice.
Is this the beginning of the end for the BYOD megatrend?