BYOA is the New BYOD

Ann Marie Cullen
Ann Marie Cullen | August 03, 2013
Market Trends
Mobile Learning
Mobile Strategy

The Bring-Your-Own movement is expanding from devices to apps, which is transforming enterprise mobility management.  And like everything in mobile, it is happening FAST.  We’ve seen this with our customers, who dryly report “it did not go well” when talking about the fallout from restricting certain popular apps, and our own employees, who come in expecting to be able to use the apps they have grown to depend on to be productive.  In May, Ojas Rege, our VP of Strategy, did a webinar (available here) with Stacy Crook, Mobile Enterprise Program Manager at IDC, on BYOA – the Next Wave of Consumerization.  She estimates that the BYOA movement is where BYOD was about three years ago.

Which means that now is the time for IT to get ahead of it. Like BYOD, it’s probably already happening in your organization.  Our recommendations for enterprise mobility management include:

  • Developing a BYOA strategy for your organization.  Start with a policy, even if you can’t enforce all of it with technology – yet; it’s a good starting point and should provide clear direction to employees. Like BYOD, developing the policy will be a matter of balancing protecting corporate information with preserving employees’ ability to use the tools they find most productive.
  • Establish an enterprise app store, if you haven’t already, so that you can better manage the app lifecycle, and enforce your policy.
  • Put formal processes in place to review and promote secure “prosumer” apps, and pay for them so that they can be managed through the enterprise app store. 
  • Define the levels of help desk support that will be available for different levels of apps.  For example, “preferred” apps, that the company wants employees to use, get full support.  While “approved” apps, that the company has determined meet minimum security standards and that employees may use if the preferred apps don’t meet their needs, receive best-effort or no support.
  • If your employees handle a lot of sensitive or critical data, or are subject to significant regulatory compliance requirements, consider containerization.  Many of our customers with these requirements take this approach.  Protected with a single-sign-on password, the outflow of data from containerized apps can be controlled by “whitelisting” the apps allowed to open content, and only allowing certain (or no) containerized apps to copy or paste data, or print files.

Just as BYOD makes employees more productive by allowing them to use familiar tools to access corporate data wherever and whenever they need to, BYOA can have the same impact.  There’s no need to train someone on an app they are already familiar with.  Employees work faster and more efficiently when using tools they’ve selected. 

IT can and should partner with employees to streamline business processes and improve customer interactions.  As an example, one of our customers with a large field service worker force solved a problem they weren’t even really aware of by giving their workers tablets and telling them to download whatever apps they thought would help them do their jobs.  The app with the most impact turned out to be Google Translate.  The workers encounter people who speak a range of languages every day.  Google Translate let them better communicate with their customers. They could talk more directly with each other instead of getting frustrated by the language barriers.  This one app improved the experience for both the worker and the customer. If implemented thoughtfully, BYOA, like BYOD, can measurably improve a company’s brand and bottom line.

For more on BYOA, please listen to the webinar I did for BrightTalk, available here (registration required).