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BYOD: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

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One of the first meetings you have when you start a new job is with the IT team.

This is where you are hooked up to the enterprise communication system and spend your first few days learning the new system and unlearning the previous one – time that could have been invested in getting to know your new team and work responsibilities.

When I joined ShoreTel I geared myself, expecting a few valuable days of “communication teething problems” but I was in for a revelation. Instead of being issued a standard corporate phone and a laptop I was asked for my choice of laptop, mobile phone and tablet or better still if I would like to use business communication services on my personal device with ShoreTel Mobility.

When I realised that I wouldn’t have to grapple with a new business communication system I was instantly sold to this brilliant concept of bringing your own device (BYOD) to work.

With the rise of sophisticated smartphones in consumer market, organisations have recently seen a spike in number of employees requesting to use enterprise communications services on their personal devices. The benefits of this concept are immediately apparent with increased productivity as employees are not only better connected but it also allows them to be more responsive whether on the move or at an off-site meeting, without having to manage multiple personal and business devices. Not to mention lower device costs for organisations – news that will cheer up many CIOs under pressure from budget cuts.

Like any other new concept, BYOD has its fair share of Luddite naysayers.

Interestingly, in this case it is the IT departments, teams that are usually at the vanguard of latest technology deployment, who are dragging their feet. They have valid concerns, ranging from the security of corporate information to how to cope with wide variety of smartphone platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry and devices available in the market.

With ShoreTel Mobility, a mobile UC solution that enables businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the benefits of BYOD programme while ensuring the concerns around its deployment are addressed, IT can breathe a sigh of relief. It is designed to integrate leading smartphones and tablets with existing enterprise communication applications and infrastructure securely, simply and cost-effectively. It is a secure system with in-built security for mobile UC. Further, as the enterprise data is not stored on the mobile device it reduces the risk of a security breach as a result of devices getting lost or stolen. Most of all, it supports a wide variety of smartphones and tablets from Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry OS and Symbian S60.

The IT departments need to keep pace with the digital revolution spreading across consumer market – specially in connection with the younger generation entering workforce now. The so called digital natives who are not only comfortable using the latest gadgets but also have no qualms in tinkering with the phone settings, or for that matter enterprise communications systems to suit their purpose. These are the workers who are likely to prioritise using their favourite device for business purposes whether IT sanctions it or not.  A bigger concern for IT should be the situation where they can’t trigger security measure if a device using business communication service without IT permission is lost or stolen.

The smart move would be to join the game with ShoreTel Mobility and control the situation rather burying your head and waiting for events to spiral out of control.