Bring Your Own Device Boom !

Last year the number of wireless subscriber connections in the US exceeded the number of people in the country. This is an inevitable milestone signifying the ubiquity of the mobile internet device, and a testament to the rapid developments in mobile technologies and usage. Thanks to the advent of smartphones and tablets, the ability to access and share information anywhere at anytime has become ingrained in 21st century life. 
In the office, the requirement for employees to be connected, available and responsive to global customers and colleagues, and the desire to avoid replicating a device the employee already owns, has resulted in a “bring your own device” boom. Eliminating geographical and time restrictions for employees brings obvious benefits, but as with many advantages there are trade offs. 

Bring your own device, or BYOD, lets employees control when and where they perform their tasks. In today's post-pc era, this mobility provides a significant boost to productivity for the employer, as well as flexibility for the employee. On top of this, more powerful mobile devices have become competitive with laptops and PCs, offering a true alternative rather than a poor substitute. 

Costs have dropped significantly with manufacturers’ economies of scale; the expensive custom equipment of yesterday has been replaced by cost effective models with standardised parts, making them simpler to configure. Most importantly, users are already accustomed to these devices. With intuitive technologies the learning curve is gentler, and employees are more productive with technologies they are familiarised with. 
The downside to increasingly intuitive technology is that employees’ expectations are very high. They may expect a corporate supply chain or workflow application to have a comparable user experience to a native iPhone app, when the required functionality is far more complex. 

Fragmentation is another challenge for IT. To truly support BYOD, IT must accommodate not only the full array of operating systems and devices, but also be able to adapt to updated versions while still catering for earlier systems. Small differences in devices, such as screen size and resolution, can have profound effects on the performance of apps. IT must find a balance between compatibility, functionality and simplicity. 
There is also the fragmentation between personal and professional use. It is important to separate corporate and personal data, and play close attention to areas where the two might overlap. Security can present a problem, as authorising devices can interrupt the basic simplicity of mobile devices. 

Finally, the company must find a way to balance costs. If the device is a gift, are calls subsidised, and to what extent? 
Accenture works with many of its clients to address the issues of mobility. What is certain is that the days when employees had one office, one phone and one computer are behind us, and that BYOD is well underway.