Users should be the center of BYOD management—but what happens when the user’s a fifth grader?

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a hot topic these days, and will be for years to come.  There have been many different approaches to BYOD, from managing devices via a mobile device management (MDM) solution, to companies supplying employees with devices that are locked down and secure.  Along with BYOD, a companion catchphrase you hear a lot is the “consumerization of IT.”

People consume so many different IT services ─ everything from file-sharing to online banking to social media and more ─ and the constant for all of these is ease of use.  Because of this, people are starting to expect the same level of ease and simplicity from their work-related IT services, and companies that keep the user experience top of mind gain a competitive advantage when users are more productive and efficient.  From our own experience, we have learned the ideal BYOD management strategy takes a holistic approach to the end-to-end needs of the user. It revolves around providing users with the right tools (data and apps) based not on device, but on their individual identities and roles within the organization.  This holistic approach ultimately empowers users to be productive, efficient and collaborative, regardless of the devices they use.

The expectations of today’s users start much earlier than the day they enter the workforce.  My son is in fifth grade, my daughter is in fourth grade.  In January of last year, their school district adopted BYLD (Bring Your Learning Device).  Now, our kids can bring in their own device (laptop, tablet, etc.) and take advantage of the secure wireless network the school offers, as well as new learning apps that just can’t be done with old fashioned chalk and erasers.  All their reading is done via the Kindle app, and lots of their research is now done through Grolier Online, versus the big encyclopedia books we grew up with.     

So, my kids already fall under this BYOD umbrella, and expect to be able to bring whatever device they want to use into the classroom.  And, they have the expectation that everything will just work and be simple. As they grow up and enter the work force, this will not change; they will expect to leverage their device of choice and that IT will support them.  Let me stress this:  they expect that IT will support THEM. 

So, companies and EDUs that focus on supporting users (in this case, their students), rather than the devices they use, already are on the path to implementing a successful BYOD environment. Dell recently commissioned a global survey from Vanson Bourne, which reveals some interesting findings that point to just how valuable a user-centric approach to BYOD management is.  Find out more in this whitepaper.

About the Author: Michael Tweddle