BYOD: Obstacles to Employee Adoption

23 Jun 2015

How attached have we become to our cell phones? Surveys show that as many as two-thirds of Americans - and more than 90 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 - sleep with their smartphone on or near their beds. Clearly, it's unrealistic for employers to think their employees will separate themselves from such an important and ingrained life tool. That said, employees taking advantage of Bring Your Own Device for business purposes will be more willing to adapt to the needs of their employers if the solution meets certain criteria.

In selecting a BYOD solution, companies need to address common problems that can slow or stall adoption:

1. Required apps must be easy and intuitive to use. If employers are going to ask their people to install a new business app on their personal cell phones then it needs to be simple to use.

2. The experience must be familiar. The business app employers choose must feel familiar. It must look and act similarly to the employees' personal phones, including all of the same functionalities and capabilities. A familiar user interface is more likely to be adopted verses a cool application that has a complex experience.

3. Personal information remains private from the employer application. Employees need to be reassured that even though information may appear all together when using the application, there is a barrier between their data and company data that keeps the two separated. The employee's personal information remains private.

BetaNews recently reported that, "the task of drafting policies that cover nearly every type of device and situation while still addressing the privacy concerns of employees has proven so far to be nearly impossible. Mobile devices are continuously being upgraded, which means that company's IT policies would also have to follow suit. In addition, BYOD has raised concerns with employees and privacy advocates because it is unclear in many cases as to where the line should be drawn with regard to the amount of access that an employer has to a personal device."

Despite the challenges, employers seem undaunted. An InformationWeek Survey on Mobile Security found that 83 percent of organizations either support or are planning to support BYOD initiatives that will allow employees to use their personal smartphones and tablets to access corporate email and other systems.

"BYOD is now the reality"

An ESI-sponsored paper in Unified Communications Strategies notes that, "BYOD is now the reality in business communications for many organizations and IT departments need to understand how they can best support these personally owned mobile devices in an enterprise environment."

The paper goes on to say, "The key will be to deliver the UC capabilities to mobile users in a fashion that allows the company to maintain control of its contact numbers and monitor its communications while providing a user experience that the mimics what [users have] come to expect from their mobile device. That's a tall order, but achievable."

Whatever BYOD solution a company chooses has to address company concerns, of course, but it can't do that if employees don't use it. Finding the right balance is a key to success.

For more information on ESI go to download the ESI eBook on Reimagining the Workplace

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