The BYOD mega trend is racing for chaos in 2014. Can you COPE? Should you call security? What now, we have wearables? This year is going to be sheer madness as tablets and PCs come under the BYOD umbrella, upping the stakes including complications and confusion. It’s going to force changes to ones BYOD policy.
It’s going to push CIOs to retool legacy apps and systems. And it’s going to test the already-strained relationship between IT and business.
One: Can you cope?
Employees don’t really want to pay for their smartphones, tablets and PCs. They just want an easy-to-use device that can be used for both work and personal stuff. It’s actually better, of course, if the company foots the bill. Last year, we saw the emergence of the “company-owned, personally enabled” model, called COPE. This year, we expect to see real-world implementations. COPE is a hybrid approach that sits between free-for-all BYOD and traditional company-owned computers that forbade personal use.
Two: Tablets and PCs Come to Work
BYOD had been mostly a smartphone play, but in the second half of 2013, Forrester Research analyst David Johnson saw more PCs and tablets falling under the BYOD policy. Johnson says he expects the trend to continue this year. A move toward more powerful, more critical BYOD tools brings a plethora of technical challenges. With BYOD PCs, Johnson says, “There’s a lot more you have to secure in order for it to be considered acceptable, particularly in a regulated environment.”
Three: Call Security!
Hoping to derail BYOD, many CIOs played the security card — that is, telling everyone who would listen that BYOD threatened corporate assets. But CIOs may have overplayed their hand. There hasn’t been a headline-grabbing security breach, prompting one analyst to claim that BYOD security was a “non-event.” But this year BYOD will expand to tablets and PCs rich with valuable corporate data, and hackers will take dead aim. That’s why we’re predicting a BYOD security bombshell in 2014.
Four: Bye-Bye Stipends
Remember when your company reimbursed you for home Internet? Those were the good old days. Signs already point to BYOD going the same route, especially in areas where jobs are sparse and companies aren’t under pressure to provide perks. In 2014, we might be saying goodbye to device reimbursement and monthly stipends for mobile service. Caveat: If more PCs and tablets fall under a BYOD program, however, we might see stipends increase to cover them, says Forrester’s David Johnson.
Five: IT Strikes Back
Last year, IT had to tackle BYOD head-on or risk being cut out completely. CIOs worked feverishly to change the culture from one that throws up roadblocks to one that embraces change. Tech leaders made big strides, and IT saved itself from becoming irrelevant. However, there is still a lot of work to be done with BYOD security and policy. Many companies have gaping BYOD security risks. This year, we’ll see IT shoring up networks and systems to make them BYOD-proof.
Six: Revenge of the Rogue Worker
As IT asserts control over BYOD this year, there’s a chance end users will revolt. After all, BYOD was started by rogue business employees who felt IT was too rigid and slow in adopting consumer tech. The power pendulum shifted dramatically to end users and away from IT. Now IT hopes the pendulum is sliding back in its favour. This brings risk of an old danger: “If you start trying to increase control on employee-owned devices, then that’s a slippery slope,” says Forrester’s David Johnson.
Seven: Microsoft Gets Its Tablets in the Game
Microsoft lost the BYOD smartphone to Apple and Android and was on the verge of a complete collapse in the tablet space. In a Forrester survey conducted in late 2013, Apple iPads led the vast majority of BYOD tablet deployments, with Android tablets making a serious run. Windows 8-based tablets were practically non-existent. Then the survey asked about BYOD tablet deployment plans in the next 12 months — and Windows 8-based tablets led the pack. What’s behind the turnaround? A lot of factors are trending Microsoft’s way, from refresh cycles to IT regaining some control over devices. Suffice to say, “the tablet in the enterprise is theirs to lose,” says Aberdeen’s Andrew Borg.
Eight: Year of the BYOD Mandate?
Two years ago, VMware made an aggressive move with BYOD by requiring all 6,000 employees in the United States to use personal smartphones for work. Last summer, a Gartner survey of CIOs showed mandatory BYOD gaining steam, prompting Gartner to predict that half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes by 2017. Then the call for mandatory BYOD quieted down in the latter part of last year. So will we hear the mandatory BYOD chatter starting up again in 2014? As BYOD becomes the new normal, we’re predicting a few more companies will put the onus on employees to buy and use their own smartphones for work as a condition of employment.
Nine: Mobile Device Management Mayhem
Last year was a good one for mobile device management (MDM) vendors, as companies began to realize the need to get a handle on BYOD. The MDM market has been flooded with newcomers and is evolving at a wickedly fast clip. Everything from expanding the portfolio to cover app management to dealing with innovations such as app wrapping and virtual work spaces to working with device makers such as Apple and Samsung, MDM vendors have their work cut out for them. Then there are giant tech companies getting into MDM, such as Dell and possibly BlackBerry. MDM mayhem is sure to be a part of 2014.
Ten: End of Legacy Apps
One of the great inhibitors to BYOD tablets is legacy applications that have browser dependencies on older versions of Internet Explorer or are locked up behind the firewall and not easily accessible. Employees are fed up with apps that chain them to the desktop. Instead, they want to use their shiny new iPads and Android tablets that they unwrapped over the holidays for work. “In 2014, companies will begin to put practical programs in place, continue to accelerate their move to Software-as-a-Service wherever they can,” says Forrester’s David Johnson. “Companies will start to figure out how to modernize their core applications to be friendlier to BYOD.”
Eleven: Virtual Desktop, Round 2
Not every app can be modernized quickly, especially systems of record. So how will IT serve up these apps to BYOD tablets and PCs? BYOD is already starting to breathe new life into the virtual desktop. It’s an infrastructure that is more resilient and tolerant of devices that are not well configured yet need to access systems of record. Virtual desktop infrastructure, in fact, is at the heart of Seattle Children’s Hospital’s BYOD strategy. “We’re going to see more investment in those technologies in 2014,” Forrester’s David Johnson says.
Twelve: Wearables Wreak Havoc
Sparked by Google Glass and smart watches, wearable gadgets have become a tour de force in the tech sector. They’re not just for consumers, either. Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder predicts wearables will soon be taking the enterprise by storm, with the company-provided wearables market surpassing the consumer market within the next five years. It’s quite possibly a BYOD wearables future. Is IT ready? Hardly. “IT is just trying to catch a breath with BYOD smartphones,” says Aberdeen’s Andrew Borg. “I don’t think they’re even remotely prepared for wearables and other smart devices that are going to attempt to get on the corporate networks and access corporate files. This can loom as a big issue in 2014 and beyond.”