Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bring Your Own Device - Part II

Last month I blogged about a new trend in the business practices in the West - a trend to allow, or even request, their employees to bring their own mobile devices to work (laptop, smartphone, etc.) It didn't pass long before I encountered this novel approach, although in little different manifestation, in practice.

As someone who regularly goes to IT classrooms and education, I was accustomed to the typical setup of an IT classroom: a bunch of PCs arranged in rows and connected to a local network and to a classroom server, usually located in the backroom. But, recently i received an invitation to the classroom in which an organizer has specified that each attendee has to bring his own laptop!

And when you think about it, it makes a perfect sense. As I mentioned in my last blog, today majority of IT professional has their own laptop or at least can bring their official mobile device. Secondly, with advent of Cloud Computing you don't need to have dedicated Education server - you can simply lease one from several Cloud Computing providers and connect students' laptops to it through internet. And thirdly, you don't have to waste time with configuring user computers and reinstalling the PC image each time you have another group of students.

This setup is especially attractive to smaller companies that don't have dedicated classrooms and staff for conducting education. After all, the main reason why someone will choose particular education is quality of an instructor, not an exclusivity of facility. Therefore, with such dynamic setup, smaller IT companies can harness the knowledge of their experienced workers who don't work full-time as an instructors, but without spending unnecessary amount of money in maintaining their own IT Classroom.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brig Your Own Device

For someone living in the "backyard" of Europe, it's always useful to follow news from across the ocean in anticipation of the trends that will, with usual delay of a few years, hit the coast of my region too.

One of those trends is "Bring Your Own Device" policy that more and more companies in the west start to implement in their networks. To put it shortly, bring your own device is not some fancy way of inviting you to a party, but a model in which employer doesn't necesarily provide any more corporate laptops, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices to their employees, but instead permits to their future or present employees to bring their own device to work.

IT workers are divided along this issue. I will not going deep into the issues of security, compliance, manageability, etc. that frequently pop up in this debate. Let me consider this issue from a practical viewpoint.

It's nothing unusual that businesses are always trying to find a way to lower their costs, especially in these times. And BYOD policy undoubtedly goes into that direction - it is clear that it shifts cost of buying new personal harware from company to the employee. Of course, you have to take into account the cost of maintaining tdhat devices, security and so on, but today when majority of mobile workers carry their official laptops to their home, I'm sure that those costs would not be higher than usual. Therefore, the BYOD policy is beneficial to the organization. It would be unwise to announce it radically: "From now on you must bring your own device to work", but gradually it can lower the cost of IT by letting employees to use personal devices in corporate environment.

What about employees? I think there is not much to do but to be prepared to work in new circumstances. Looking at the positive side, you will be free to choose your own device you will work on and you might use one device for private and business purpose. But freedom comes with a price, you will have to pay for it, which is nuisance if you are looking for a job - employer can, and why not, ask you to bring your own device to work, similarly as he asks you to bring your own clothes or your own car to the work. Giving present circumstances, I would bet that most job seekers would accept those conditions.

So, BYOD is an attractive proposal to the businesses, especially to the IT companies or IT departments. Although I didn't heard of any company in the region that is using this policy, I bet we will not need to wait for too long to see first signs of it.