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Follow the Leader: Your CEO is Mobile - Shouldn't You Be Embracing BYOD?

November 25, 2014 by

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece by Steven Norton titled "The Post-PC CEO: No Desk, No Desktop," which focused on Starwood Hotels & Resorts Chief Executive Frits van Paasschen's decision to abandon his desktop phone and computer. In van Paasschen's words, “I do all of my work via mobile so essentially my office is wherever I go, and I can be much more productive.”

More and more companies are beginning to follow suit. Once considered fads, the mobile workforce and bring-your-own-device trends are here to stay, and it's clear these arrangements deliver huge benefits to both companies and their employees without increasing risk or expenses.

BYOD Plans

BYOD is increasingly becoming a staple of high-quality unified communications solutions, but it it isn't guaranteed to automatically deliver benefits. If you want to take full advantage, you need to develop a robust plan of action, as CIO contributor Roger Bjork recently pointed out.

A common misconception when it comes to BYOD is that business leaders can simply say, "Okay, employees can now use their personal gadgets for work," and that settles the matter. Not true.

In reality, as Bjork pointed out, BYOD deployments must be based on bigger-picture business initiatives if they are to be successful. Granting permission for employees to use personally-owned devices in and of itself will not lead to greater productivity, as this leaves many questions unanswered. For example, there needs to be a policy in place for employees who need technical assistance with their own smartphones and tablets. And what about meetings for remote workers? Do employees need additional cybersecurity protection or other features when using BYOD in public Wi-Fi spots? What about when relying on 4G?

"Only after these and many other questions are answered can executives understand the value of BYOD to the broader initiative and decide how to measure success," Bjork concluded.

Initial Insight

To ensure that a mobile focus or BYOD rollout addresses all of these issues, Bjork pointed to a number of key components every organizations should take into account.

Most importantly, business leaders should establish cross-functional teams with representatives from every department. The purpose of these teams should be to determine precisely how mobility can serve the company's broader business goals. What role should BYOD play in this organization? Only by conducting a thorough audit of this sort can decision-makers determine whether to set up any limitations to employee BYOD use and the type of support necessary to make the most of this arrangement.

It's also essential to choose the right UC platform for organization. Only with a robust, reliable, flexible UC solution in place can employees take full advantage of BYOD. This UC platform should enable easy integration between all of the devices on the corporate network, ensuring that employees can utilize all necessary corporate resources even when relying upon their personal smartphones and tablets.

If all of this is done right, as van Paasschen says, an organization's employees “can work and dress and use technology in the way that most suits (them), and I think that ultimately the result of that is that we’re all more productive.”

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