Beyond BYOD: How BYOD Acceptance Changes Organizations

Accepting that employees will be using personal devices for work can help companies become more productive and successful.
Posted October 29, 2012

Jeff Vance

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After reading the headline to this story, you’re probably thinking to yourself “acceptance”? Isn’t BYOD about deployments and management? Isn’t it about policies and risk mitigation?

Sure, but it’s also about accepting the fact that we’re already beyond the BYOD point of no return.

The five stages of BYOD adoption eerily mirror Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief:

  1. Denial. “Are any employees really going to access our ERP suite on a mobile device? Those tiny screens make it just too much bother.”
  2. Anger. “No, we will not grant you access for your iPad. This is a work environment, you slacker. You’re just going to use it to play Angry Birds anyway, and then click over to the CRM app when your boss walks by.”
  3. Bargaining. “Okay, you can use your iPhone, but not Android. And you have to sign a waiver giving us the right to wipe your phone remotely whenever we want.”
  4. Depression. “What on earth are we going to do about this BYOD problem? How are we going to pay for this? How are we going to manage and secure this? It’s a Sisyphean task. Just shoot me now.”
  5. Acceptance. “This BYOD stuff isn’t really as bad as it seems. There are tons of tools out there for both security and management. You know what, once employees are reliably and securely mobile, remote work becomes more constructive, downtime between meetings can be productive, and, hey, I have this idea for a cool app that would tie our CRM to our social-networking efforts...”

I recently attended the MobileCON conference in San Diego. BYOD tools, suites and schemes were everywhere. Vendors were liberally rolling the term BYOD into their collateral and affixing it to their booths. The focus of all of this was security, management and productivity, yet BYOD has the potential to be much, much more.

Is it unreasonable to interpret BYOD as a sign of things to come, to regard BYOD as being as much about the changing workplace and the evolving nature of knowledge work as it is about basic mobility? Is it unreasonable to think of BYOD as a potentially disruptive trend that, alongside social media, will fundamentally change how businesses interact with their customers?

Changes in Time: Coca-Cola Pushes beyond BYOD to a Real-Time Supply Chain

Coca-Cola Enterprises is somewhat cautious about BYOD. They accept iPhones and BlackBerries, but not Androids until the platform matures more and bulks up some of its basic security. They’re also using the MDM (Mobile Device Management) solution from AirWatch to help secure and manage mobile devices.

Still, even with mobility a reality and not a future goal, it’s not a straight line from mobility to productivity and new ways of interacting with customers. Data that could benefit mobile employees may still be locked in various silos, ERP, CRM, marketing analytics suites, etc., and if it is difficult to share data from one application to another in-house, it can be nearly impossible to do so from a mobile device.

And it can be tougher still to figure out how shared data will actually improve the customer experience.

“Mobile platforms allow people to connect with one another, not only with colleagues and friends, but with brands,” said Esat Sezer, SVP and CIO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, one of Coca-Cola’s largest bottlers. “[Coke is] one of the most followed brands on Facebook. We have 50 million followers, which increases every month. What does that mean? To consumers, it means that they want to not only connect with a brand socially, but they also want to collaborate with it. Smart brands will build on this new social relationship to better serve those consumers.”

For Coca-Cola Enterprises, a B2B company, they aren’t focused so much on consumers, but on retail partners in the supply chain. In their case the “customer” could be a convenience store or fast food restaurant. As the company became more mobile, Coca-Cola Enterprises wanted to transform its supply chain into a “real-time, event-driven” one. In a supply chain with 30,000 delivery drivers and 11,000 merchandisers, anything aspiring to real-time must by definition be mobile.

To tackle this challenge, Coca-Cola Enterprises deployed Software AG’s webMethods, an application integration and business process management (BPM) platform. With webMethods, merchandizers can clock in and out on their mobile devices, deliveries can be tracked via GPS, and a delivery person stocking shelves can report back on any point-of-sale buying patterns he or she may notice.

If the bottles in an end-of-aisle display that has some sort of social media component, through say a QR Code, are always sold out, and the cold bottles in the cooler are not, that’s an important insight that is easy for a delivery person to detect – if they are paying attention, and if it is easy to report this fact back to headquarters.

Then all of that information can be fed into applications like SAP and pulled back out to share with other relevant applications as needed.

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Tags: mobile, IT management, Enterprise, BYOD, Security Compliance

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