It looks like highly praised “Bring Your Own Device” concept is slowly fading away. There are plenty of different reasons for this to happen, and in this article we will try to determine why this promising concept didn’t match the expectations and its “best feature of consumer enterprise” title.

Brief History of BYOD

Intel was the first company that introduced BYOD concept in 2009, when company management started encouraging their workers to bring their own devices and use them to connect to corporate networks. Intel’s example was followed by various other companies including: Unisys, IBM, Citrix Systems etc. This became widely implemented all around the world, with the highest adoption rates in developing countries.

Why This Was Such a Praised Concept in the Beginning?

In the beginning BYOD was mostly praised by small business owners. This concept is very helpful for companies with the lack of an initial funding, because they weren’t obliged to purchase computers and other tech for their employees to work on. This way companies could save as much as $80 per employee on a monthly basis and more than 50% of companies required their workers to cover the cost of their device maintenance.

Another “benefit” that was often associated with this concept, but it turned to be a false assumption is that employees like working on their own devices, more than on the ones provided by the company. Even if they do, reasons don’t have anything to do with being more productive, but with more freedom employees have, while working from their own computers. This enables them to cut corners and spend time on their favorite pastime websites and applications, and of course even the strictest managers wouldn’t dare to check the browser history on employee’s device.

Why Did It Fail?

Since the prime benefit that focuses on employee’s preferences was the one that enable them to cut corners, disadvantages of this concept were even worse. If we view computers, smartphones and tablets, the same way as we view cars, it easy to realize that BYOD concept was built on lots of false premises and assumptions. In fact using your own car for work is not much different than using your own device, because both of these products come with a large amortization costs when being used frequently. Less you use the device it will last longer, so asking employees to work with their own devices is like asking them to chip in for their own salary at the end of the month.

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On top of all that, companies with more IT security concerns usually have acceptable use policies that are created, updated and managed by their IT departments. It is very bold, if not cocky to preach to company employees about “acceptable use” of their own devices. Would anybody work for company that treats you’re his/her as their own?

Another very important disadvantage of BYOD is that it creates an issue of data compliance and ownership. Certain companies need to implement data compliance mandates like: PCI DSS, GLBA or HIPAA, which is very hard when it comes to devices that aren’t owned by the company. Also if employee decides to leave the company on his/her own accord, it will be hard to retrieve all the data stored on the devices he/she used for work.

Bottom Line

Today experts like to point out different disadvantages of BYOD, focusing mainly on security risks and data ownership, but they don’t realize that the most important reason for the fail of “Bring Your Own Device” concept is the fact that companies treated their workers like partners all the time, except on pay day.

This is the time when expertise and ideas are running the world, while technology is becoming inexpensive and more and more irrelevant. That is why companies who hide behind BYOD concept and other corporate austerity tricks in order to save a dollar or two, by shifting their costs and responsibilities to employees, are destined to fail and fade away, same as BYOD concept.

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Posted by Marcus Jensen

Marcus is an Australian IT support professional. He's running his own business, working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. In his free time he enjoys SciFi books and movies.

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