Cisco had an interesting Cisco Plus Virtual conference lined up running simultaneously in Brussels, Oslo, Amsterdam and Stockholm. Part of the agenda focused around the new big trend: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).
During the conference Cisco and partners stressed the importance of this trend but also that it needs carefully planning and preparation within the organization. That makes sense since the current generation of connected workers increasingly take their equipment into the enterprise. Besides, it is not only the device a CIO has to worry about. With it comes a stream of personal applications and services that enter that same workplace. We are talking BYOIT. Before letting the monster in make sure about security, simplicity and seamless integration with the existing infrastructure. The trend does indeed reflect the blurring barrier between private and professional life and is a direct effect from the consumerization of IT. During the conference Cisco and Intel were keen to stress benefits of this trend: employees love it, it makes them happy, it is exactly what the Y generation wants.
Ruud Kurver from Telindus went into more detail about the road towards BOYD. But he failed to properly address a simple question from the audience: how do you define and measure the success of a BYOD project. It seems BOYD is about making the employee happy. Of course he should have said that research shows that BYOD employees put in an extra 240 hours of work a year; unpaid!
Alan Nance, Chief Technology and Innovation from ING had a good point as he pushed back a bit on the BYOD. While there may be many employees who welcome BYOD, there are probably many more that are not interested at all. The speed at which current ICT developments are introduced is great for the savvy few but overwhelming for many others. It is easy agree with the cautious mind of Nance: while the Dutch ICT sector is pushing for BYOD, many companies still trying to block websites for their employees. It just shows the difference between marketing and reality.
Nevertheless BYOD is here stay and so is another interesting sociological phenomenon: the BYOD rat race. Who has the latest and greatest gizmo in the office and who still has that deceptive iPad I?