More Good Advice on BYOT Programs

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Creating a Bring-Your-Own-Technology (BYOT) Program

12 steps to follow when creating a BYOT program.

If there's one thing IT organizations like, it's standardization. And who can blame them? It's far easier and more efficient to deploy and support a standard set of software applications on a standard set of hardware.


Unfortunately, it doesn't look like that will be an option for mobile devices like tablets. Different groups of users have very different needs for their devices. An executive will want a different device and applications than a sales rep, and neither of them will want the same device and apps as a delivery person. And some folks will just use their own devices for work, whether or not they get IT approval.


That came out clearly in a post in which I shared the experiences of some early tablet adopters like SAP. The company has 2,500 iPads in use, but CIO Oliver Bussmann is already modifying SAP's infrastructure to support other mobile devices as well. It's likely many other companies will follow suit.


How to support all of those devices will be one of the biggest challenges for IT organizations. I wrote about it back in November, sharing some research from Unisys and a tip from a Unisys VP, who suggested polling their employees about their technology preferences then presenting them with a "white list" of approved mobile technologies and support options.


I shared some additional not-so-positive experiences from early tablet adopters, most of which centered around, you guessed it, support-related difficulties. I added a list of five lessons learned, with suggestions that should help companies just beginning to consider their device strategies.


Earlier this month, CITO Research CTO and Editor Dan Woods covered a lot of the same ground in a Forbes column. He includes a list of steps for companies considering what most folks are calling a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) model. Many of the tips would apply equally as well to IT organizations supporting a broader array of company-purchased devices.


Here are four tips I especially liked:

  • In a twist on the Unisys suggestion for surveying employees, Woods advises creating an internal customer advisory group. Their input can be used to create and refine policies and guidelines for employee-owned devices.
  • Run a pilot program with users from different business units. This should provide great insight into the kinds of devices that will actually benefit users and into the network and application access required by different users. Unfortunately, I think many companies allow one (especially vocal) group like executives or sales people to drive their mobile rollouts.
  • Make sure policies and guidelines are clearly communicated and understood. Periodically review policies and query users to make sure they understand them. (Woods includes a great list of 13 items that should be covered by these policies. I'm not including them here, so please refer to his column.)
  • Be prepared to provide additional training to help desk staff and/or expand it with external resources.