By Tad Johnson, Commercial Marketing Manager, JAMF Software

With the proliferation of mobile devices and IT consumerisation, more employees will expect to work in companies that have a BYOD or CYOD policy in place as they demand anytime, anywhere access to their applications in order to remain productive. According to telecoms regulator Ofcom, 61% of UK adults now say they own a smartphone, while household take-up of tablet computers has almost doubled over the past year to 44%. In fact, since 2010 our daily total media consumption has risen from 8 hours 48 minutes to more than 11 hours, and this is largely down to the increase in smartphones.

The desire for updated technology is not confined to the consumer, as expectations are now entering the company walls; adding complexity for the IT teams who need to find a way to accommodate this demand whilst releasing the business benefits available through a BYOD system: such as increased productivity and flexibility anytime, anywhere. Businesses that do not embrace the need for instant gratification with BYOD could risk losing valuable employees to competitors or worse their company data as employees turn to their own, and sometimes unsecure methods to remain productive.

When do we want IT? Now!
Much has been said about BYOD – considerations of security in particular – even so far as to spawn a family of acronyms that includes COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled), BYOA (Bring your own apps) and CYOD (choose your own device). Yet despite the multitude of different approaches to dealing with the growing needs of employees, IT departments are seemingly jumping from solution to solution ad-hoc, rather than concentrating on adopting a single coherent approach.

To further add to BYOD complexities, due to the constant evolution of technology and new applications being introduced into the market, employees are constantly upgrading devices and applications. These upgrades are often automatic or easily downloadable which further fuels the growing demand for IT to be able to accommodate them as soon as they become available.

Unfortunately for IT, this hassle-free and instantaneous culture becomes an expectation; this can be difficult to manage without visibility into each and every employee device.

Anytime/Anywhere…BYOD will be waiting for you
One of the major benefits of BYOD is the ability to work freely, anytime and anywhere. Whereas in the past Dolly had everyone singing nine to five, the truth is no-one singing along anymore. The ease with which communications can be sustained across regions, countries, continents and time-zones means the compartmentalised concept of a workplace has eroded and employees can plug and play from a plane, train or the comforts of their own home.

However, this benefit has now become a demand and an expectation of Millennials, further fuelling the need for IT to be able to respond to demands of the workforce.

So how can the IT department work with employees to offer the best of BYOD, without enforcing a ‘my way or the highway approach?’ As soon as battle lines are drawn between IT and employees, there will only be losers in the BYOD game. However, IT can work with employees to gain some control of the plethora of devices and application installations whilst encouraging the benefits. For example, IT should:
· Provide an easily accessible, well-populated and controlled self-service model for employees to access and download applications themselves
· Provide secure access to corporate resources anywhere & anytime
· Ensure that your IT department is able to accommodate new devices and upgrades within 24 hours of release
· Ensure that IT has final approval over any downloads occurring on the organisations network
As technology continues to evolve and force itself upon the consciousness and habits of each successive generation, the expectations of employees will continue to grow. It is foolish, difficult and unnecessary to create conflict between IT and the growing needs of the modern workforce– IT must embrace the potential that can come from harnessing the demands of employees.