It has always been true that those who do not adapt will perish – or at least fall by the wayside. In the business world, this tenet has perhaps never been truer. Consumers have more control over the companies they endorse and businesses, even the small ones, have more global reach. Compounding these factors is the speed at which technology is accelerating. The groups and individuals that best stay on top of the ever steeper industrial curve will tend to have the most success.
But this isn't only about having the fanciest office. Form without function is ultimately little more than an ornament. Each technological upgrade must be implemented for a specific reason – every IT strategy should have a measurable impact on business, employee attitude, employee satisfaction – or all three.
Recently, Bring Your Own Device has made headlines and garnered attention from pundits. Some claim it to be the key to the future, while others believe it comes with too many headaches and not enough payoff. Most likely, the truth is somewhere in between – that BYOD is an opportunity for companies to incorporate a burgeoning technology that might be a benefit if implemented correctly.
Separate the extremes
People have a tendency to think in absolutes – all or nothing. As a result, any new platform that might disrupt the status quo will be either hailed as next generation or lambasted as a waste of time. For small businesses, it's important to wade through the heaps of criticism or praise and determine the best course of action based on the company's needs. Here are a few of the problems with the mindsets on either end of the spectrum.
BYOD is a terrible idea
The naysayers cite security risks, a lack of office continuity and a heavy load on IT as primary reasons that BYOD will fail. Their concerns are not completely unfounded – allowing employees to bring whatever device they want in to work and connect to the office network will create additional security concerns and strain the IT department. Those companies that allow employees work from home using their personal devices could risk losing the productivity that the office instills.
But that assumes a business will roll out a plan without examining their policies and capabilities or consulting their own employees, according to IT Pro Portal. Transparency is key – these companies must demonstrate a willingness to research a policy before establishing it. Security risks are real, but manageable with the right plan. IT won't have to decline if devices are properly quantified. And work from home might benefit some employees and not others – it's crucial to monitor staff performance and acknowledge that some members may not be effective if they work from home.
BYOD is the only way to operate
Those who believe BYOD will completely replace office tech believe companies will benefit from the lower infrastructure requirements, better employee attitudes due to increased independence and higher productivity from a more flexible schedule. Like the above, this camp has reason to think this way. Small businesses might enjoy the ability to downsize the office and some employees will be much more productive with the ability to work from their own laptops and mobile devices.
But an adequate BYOD plan must also address security risks, as Network World points out. Plus, for many companies, it is impossible or unfeasible to eliminate the office entirely. A company cannot just turn the reins over to BYOD without setting out the ground rules, preparing the IT department and coming up with a strategy.
Office technology industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in office technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.