The current common wisdom on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): It is here to stay, despite some significant issues with its efficacy.
The issue on the table now is how best to incorporate BYOD in the enterprise over the long haul. To IT and telecom executives, it is perhaps a case of making lemonade out of lemons. To this point, much of the focus has been on managing devices and protecting the data that they carry (or finding ways to limit the value of the data the devices hold).
Those are very important challenges, of course. In November, Gartner fulfilled one of such a firm’s key tasks in bringing attention to an important but lower-profile issue. The firm released a report that suggested that the way in which applications are developed should fundamentally change in the world of BYOD.
Gartner’s point is that the explosion of BYOD and the consumerization of IT, which it points out extends beyond the firm’s employees to reach its business partners, outside contractors and others, makes it necessary to take a different and far broader approach to application development. In other words, the challenges of BYOD must be tackled from a new perspective:
This development is leading to the need for IT to look into the techniques and practices of what Gartner calls "global class" computing — an approach to designing systems and architectures that extends computing processes outside the enterprise and into the cultures of the consumer, mobile worker and business partners. The global-class approach exploits the characteristics of Internet-enabled computing, and employs applications and services that are more flexible and inclusive, simpler and less-expensive than those designed for enterprise. The only way to address the impact of global class is to mandate it as a principle in the applications strategy.
It won’t be easy. Indeed, global-class computing, though it may be introduced simply as a tactic to better manage BYOD, represents a major change in the relationship between businesses and the computing devices upon which they rely. Today, CIO Insight contributor Samuel Greengard reacted to the issues raised by Gartner with an explanation of what “global class” computing is. He paraphrases comments by Gartner Research Director Darryl Carlton:
The concept centers on designing systems and architectures to extend computing processes to consumers, mobile workers and business partners accessing data from a variety of devices. It promotes the use of applications and services that are more flexible and inclusive, simpler, and less expensive than those designed for the enterprise. In the process, it also builds a more holistic approach to security, Carlton says.
The point is that the transition is huge. Midsize Insider also references the Gartner study and the new sensitivities in app development in the context of the broader worlds of midsize business and security. The overall picture is the same: IT departments must change with the time; to cling to the familiar ways of doing things in this instance not only is counter-productive, but can be downright dangerous.
The need to rethink how apps are put together is a logical follow-on and inevitable next step in the consumerization of IT. Corporate apps have special needs in terms of security, the ability to link to backend databases and in other areas. The explosion of BYOD means that IT is as challenged on the app side as it is on the hardware and operating system fronts, albeit less dramatically.