Many people use the terms “BYOD” and “consumerization of IT” interchangeably. These two terms, however, do not mean the same thing. Of course they are related, and if we define them, then any given scenario, product, or IT strategy can be assessed using BYOD and consumerization as two independent variables.
Plot the scenarios on a graph and you get this:
I’m working with these assumptions:
Consumerization, in this case, referes to device native applications, SaaS, corporate app-stores—using a shiny new device to do work all the same old ways is not consumerization, (though as you can see on the graph, this can fall under BYOD).
BYOD refers to situations where users can freely bring in a device any time they want and access corporate resources, without onerous device management restrictions.
Let’s take a closer look at the different scenarios on the graph and why they’re placed where they are.
What is both consumerization and BYOD friendly?
This is the magical land where data is managed instead of devices, touch-screen device-native apps abound, and the kids run around with their Facebook and their Twitter and their complicated shoes... No, wait, this can actually exist, and people can actually use these tools to get real work done. Examples:
- A company decides to provide device native (read: touch based for tablets and smartphones) applications to users on any device. Access and security is built-in, around the data, not around the device.
- Users can bring in any computer they want and have access to company resources (yeah, right...but this probably is already happening anyway). Maybe they get to log into a corporate file syncing service that has a local client, they use other locally executed apps that are synchronized in the cloud.
What is consumerization friendly but locked down?
In these scenarios, all the consumer tools and techniques are support, just not on their own devices. This is great for situations where tablet or smartphone apps make sense, but the organization isn’t allowed to be quite so free with its data. For example:
- A company provides device native apps, but only allows them on corporate-managed devices (or on personal devices that are so heavily MDM’d that the users regret bringing in their devices in the first place).
What is BYOD but still old school?
This is what happens when organizations want to jump on the BYOD bandwagon, but don’t think things out. In this case, the consumerization part of the equation is probably already in place thanks to the concept of FUIT. Examples:
- Tablets and smartphones abound. Since their are no corporate apps provided, the users either bought all their own apps (probably violating some part of their contracts by using unauthorized cloud services as well) or they are under-utilizing their tablets by only working in the browser.
- A company decides to not manage employee’s physical desktops, allowing BYOC. What do the employees get instead of corporate desktops? Another desktop, except it’s VDI this time. Since it’s virtual now, it means that the experience isn’t as good, especially when the employees are working out of the office. But hey, at least the employees get to access thier new not-as-great desktops from sleek, shiny, personal Macbooks.
What is locked down and old school?
The Powers believe that iPads are a passing fad and that everybody should be happy with a BlackBerry. Some examples:
- Any company with executives that refer to employees under 30 as “those punk kids.”
- A company announces that BYOD is now permitted (or maybe even required!). Unfortunately, every device is locked down, and the company doesn’t provide any cool device native apps. Maybe they provide a remote desktop client, but since using a Windows desktop on an iPhone is about as fun as a root canal, employees couldn’t care less that they got to bring in their own device. This might as well be called an “employees foot the phone bill” program. This will encourage the users to resort to FUIT techniques.