Bring Your Own

  • Posted: 25 September 2009 07:17 AM

    According to a Forrester Research blog today, there is a substantial new shift in the enterprise phone market:  companies are increasingly adopting a “bring your own” phone policy, in which the company will support more than one phone, often from a list of supported phones.  See:  http://blogs.zdnet.com/forrester/?p=296

    This follows the announcement a few months ago of major enterprise software players to support enterprise bring your own policies.  That announcement immediately triggered opinions that the era of Blackberry dominance in the enterprise was numbered.  See:  http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=17371

    This is a huge development, folks.  It opens the enterprise market wide open, and the major beneficiary is the iPhone.

    But there’s an even bigger payoff down the road:  once an enterprise adopts a bring your own phone policy, how long before it adopts a bring your own computer policy?  At the moment, computers have more security issues than phones, but as phones increasingly become pocket computers with lots of business applications running on them, the lines are going to blur real fast.

    With possibly as much as 50% of college graduates entering the workforce in the next few years owning a perfectly good Macbook, why should the corporation force them to switch to a PC, and pay for that cost? 

    It is looking increasingly like the iPhone is the trojan horse for Apple in the corporate market to upend not just the dominance of Blackberry, but also the dominance of Windows.  This won’t happen overnight, but if its something that enables corporations to save money, it will happen faster than you think.

         
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    Posted: 25 September 2009 07:49 AM #1

    macorange - 25 September 2009 10:17 AM

    ...But there’s an even bigger payoff down the road:  once an enterprise adopts a bring your own phone policy, how long before it adopts a bring your own computer policy?  At the moment, computers have more security issues than phones, but as phones increasingly become pocket computers with lots of business applications running on them, the lines are going to blur real fast.

    With possibly as much as 50% of college graduates entering the workforce in the next few years owning a perfectly good Macbook, why should the corporation force them to switch to a PC, and pay for that cost? 

    It is looking increasingly like the iPhone is the trojan horse for Apple in the corporate market to upend not just the dominance of Blackberry, but also the dominance of Windows.  This won’t happen overnight, but if its something that enables corporations to save money, it will happen faster than you think.

    Some are already starting the bring your own computer policy. In many respects it makes a lot of economic and business sense. It lowers capital outlay and computer support costs.
    Further, many in construction or auto repair are expected to have many of their own tools; no reason the same thing cannot be true in some white collar careers.

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    Posted: 25 September 2009 01:44 PM #2

    Play Ultimate - 25 September 2009 10:49 AM

    Further, many in construction or auto repair are expected to have many of their own tools; no reason the same thing cannot be true in some white collar careers.

    I was aghast at this shift. Then I read your comment above, and realized you’re right. This is not that different from other professional people. Technicians and mechanics will often have their own tools. I understand that Chefs will usually have their own knives that they take from job to job. Freelancers will generally have their own tools, whether it’s technical tools for on call plumbers or electricians, or laptops for freelance writers. Companies will specify their employees have to meet a dress code when at work, but the employees have to buy the clothes. This is just the next logical step in that process. Whether computers will follow, it might. They could specify that the equipment meets this or that specification.

    For the company side it reduces cost. There may also be a reduction in liability, (nasty pictures on an X-Corp laptop puts X-Corp at risk whereas on the personal laptop belonging to one of X-Corp’s employees may not). It also becomes the responsibility of the employee to protect the equipment from theft, and such.

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    Posted: 25 September 2009 02:17 PM #3

    Less cost cutting and more about attracting and retaining talent. I know that in these forums, I have occasionally mocked the IT people who have to control everything and said that there are lots of talented people who would rather work for themselves than work in a controlled office environment.

    Perhaps in addition to the college grads having lots of MacBooks, you’ll also see college grads having experience with more enlightened, helpful IT. That is, the IT people in colleges are learning how little they control. They are learning that they are happier and more successful when they see the students as customers and help them as needed. Many students are completely self serve and some need extensive hand holding. It’s not one size fits all. If corporate IT shuts off Facebook or makes you use an email app that you don’t like, perhaps there’s no loss to the corporation if you’re not a performer and stuck in the job anyway. But if you’re good enough, you’re looking for greener pastures. Even in a near depression, in creative fields where measured productivity can vary by 10x - 40x from the top 5% to the median, you’ve always got options if you’re close to the top.

         
  • Posted: 25 September 2009 05:11 PM #4

    As someone who has been a tech in an Apple Specialist for 3 years and now a Mac tech for a LARGE gov’t entity with multiple contractors and sub-contractors, i can easily see both sides of this “bring your own” issue.

    In the consumer/small business arena, yes there is lots of flexibility with file formats, programs etc. In a large corp/govt realm there are waaay more concerns about compatibility and security than you would think. I had no idea.

    In a perfect world, yes, it won’t matter what OS or program you use, you should just be able to open it and read/edit it. Sadly, thats now how it works. And I have seen the sets of platform recs needed to order a refresh or new seat here. Its…mammoth. And how does a corp or govt control the Exchange server issues that could potentially crop up? Also, as an Apple Specialist, yeah, I could turn around a laptop in a couple of days, but these people need absolute desk-side support. Its not so much hand-holding as it is On-site troubleshooting.

    In theory, its a great idea. In practice, at least with Directory and other large corps, I’m not sure if it is practical. :(

         
  • Posted: 26 September 2009 12:52 PM #5

    jennielf - 25 September 2009 08:11 PM

    As someone who has been a tech in an Apple Specialist for 3 years and now a Mac tech for a LARGE gov’t entity with multiple contractors and sub-contractors, i can easily see both sides of this “bring your own” issue.

    There are two sides to the issue and Apple’s gains in enterprise are gradual and consistent. This is not a critical market for Apple at this time so I look upon enterprise penetration of the Mac as incidental to success.

    However, over the next few years as Macs become more commonplace and recent graduates prefer the platform, enterprise gains will continue.

    The iPhone (and the pending tablet device) are a different ball game.

         
  • Posted: 01 October 2009 11:30 PM #6

    DawnTreader - 26 September 2009 03:52 PM
    jennielf - 25 September 2009 08:11 PM

    As someone who has been a tech in an Apple Specialist for 3 years and now a Mac tech for a LARGE gov’t entity with multiple contractors and sub-contractors, i can easily see both sides of this “bring your own” issue.

    There are two sides to the issue and Apple’s gains in enterprise are gradual and consistent. This is not a critical market for Apple at this time so I look upon enterprise penetration of the Mac as incidental to success.

    However, over the next few years as Macs become more commonplace and recent graduates prefer the platform, enterprise gains will continue.

    The iPhone (and the pending tablet device) are a different ball game.

    Well…,a little birdie had this to say….

    Corporate penetration is picking up pretty aggressively. While we are not yet in the majority of F500, we are blowing away what AT&T calls IRU sales (Individually Responsible Units). Their traditional corporate business is what they call CRU (corporate supplied or liable), so all their metrics are wrong. They are starting to realize they have sold more iPhone IRU phones to business customers than they ever thought possible. Also, the BYO phenomenon has really started to take off. More and more companies are saying “bring whatever you want”...and just providing connectivity to the Exchange server. Its like with fleet vehicles?nobody gets a “company car” these days right? Unless you are a total road warrior. But I’ll be honest, it does make it difficult for us to track our business sales with absolute granularity.

    The article you linked to is quite interesting, particularly the comments. What the IT guys don’t get is that “control” only applies in a fleet purchase world. Nobody wants two phones, and as a consumer?you are either going to cary two devices…an iPod and a BlackBerry (well we got half your business right there), or you are going to go with iPhone. And more and more that iPod is an iPod touch, so how far do you really need to go to make the leap to iPhone? Besides, iPhone is more like a laptop than it is like a BlackBerry. Imagine buying all your employees laptops and telling them “no apps, only email”. Forget it.

    Now, what we are working hard to assist the IT guy in doing is to set security policies for your iPhone based on an “opt-in” model. For instance, if you are going to be using the device for work, you might have to have a complex passcode lock on your phone. Or, you might not be able to download explicit content, or use the camera. Get fired, or leave your job? IT can delete the profile and wipe your corporate data?leaving your personal stuff intact. BlackBerry has no clue on how to handle that type of mixed consumer/business model. Its total command and control or nothing.

    Based on what we see, what platform is better prepared for the future of mobile computing? Hmm… I think this comment summed it up nicely:

    The iPhone is a powerful handheld computer. We’re only at the beginning of a steep trajectory of adoption. Apple will continue to make enterprise security and support more robust. Compelling applications that increase productivity will be the ultimate driver of adoption in the workplace.

    or this cherry:

    “But which CIO do you want to be?

    1. “We didn’t get into the iPhone business because we had a lot of concerns.” or

    2. “We got into the iPhone business because we saw all of the potential.”

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