BYOD turns sysadmins into heroes
Intel China's IT boss on consumerisation
Bring Your Own Device programmes can help to keep staff happy and turn IT bods into "heroes" but the hard RoI from spikes in productivity is unproven, according to Intel’s IT manager for China.
Liam Keating told media at Chipzilla’s Cloud Summit event in Bangkok this week that Intel has around 29,000 employee handsets to manage globally, 60 per cent of which are staff-owned.
However, although consumerisation is one of the chip giant’s four key internal focus areas for IT, he fell short of endorsing the classic mantra that BYOD equals productivity, which is used to justify most investments in such programs.
“People will publish productivity numbers saying you can be more productive on the road … but I don’t really know if you can correlate a hard dollar value to that,” he argued.
“There is an employee satisfaction piece to finishing an email on the train so you can spend more time with the wife and kids and dog at home though – it gives you an enhanced work/life balance, and it feels good to use a cool phone to get work done rather than carrying a large overweight [corporate] laptop.”
Intel deals with the complex and usually costly process of managing staff-owned devices by only allowing the use of operating systems and devices which meet a pre-defined list of basic criteria, Keating explained.
If a handset falls short then email, contacts and calendar may only be provisioned by a third party app, which acts as a “secure environment”, he added.
An extra layer of security is added because BYO devices are generally not allowed on the corporate network.
“You can download any app you want onto your phone but smartphones are a huge target for attacks – the phone doesn’t get onto our network,” he said.
“They can interact with the network, though. They can use the IM capabilities, interacting with an environment that looks like the network but isn’t.”
Keating admitted that a lot of work had gone into supporting IT consumerisation, especially co-ordinating with HR and legal teams to draw up agreements on what to do in the event of a device being compromised, for example.
“We have a lot of things on our plate so having to deal with these consumer devices was an irritant and many hoped initially they would just go away,” he added.
“But now we’ve proved we can do it and do it in a secure manner and the employees appreciated it.” ®
"“There is an employee satisfaction piece to finishing an email on the train so you can spend more time with the wife and kids and dog at home though ... "
There's greater satisfaction in switching off on exiting the building. How many people really work like this - slavishly extending the work to home?
BYOD is like bringing your own chains to the chain-gang.
Re: I once had to bring my own device....
"BYO main computing device is a nonsense. "
Depends on the role.
Most of our execs can do everything they need on an iPAD once it is set up to collect their email (other tablets are available but they are execs and don't want them).
With Citrix providing application access quite a lot of other office staff can do all they need on the same devices wherever they are (and with no issues about data loss as there's none at the client end).
I am not sure there's any real gain in productivity from this but there's no significant cost either as it is more or less the same systems involved as are used for home working.
It doesn't suit everyone - I wouldn't want to do any extended typing or CAD work this way for example - but it is fine for a lot of staff and I expect it to become more popular.
We're seeing some unexpected benefits - meeting rooms are less busy as the increased portability makes quick ad hoc gatherings in exec offices more doable. If there was a tablet with a decent built in projector (can't be long) then this would increase further.
It's also simpler to set up temporary project offices as wireless coverage (either existing or with the provision of a single new AP) replaces a more involved network setup.
Personally I'm all for it - it keeps people happy and there's no real downside for us.
Your mileage may vary, of course.
The real reason
In my opinion BYOD only really exists because certain top level managers want to continually be able to show of their latest gadgets, that they can afford but you can't. ( ensuring that the unwashed masses are reminded of just how unwashed they really are)
Unfortunately the aformentioned managers don't know how to setup their devices, therefore they had to find a solution whereby the IT department would be forced to set the devices for them using the companies time. This new paradigmv was named BYOD.
The IT Guys have been using their own devices for as long as IT existed, so it's nothing new for them anyway.
Re: We always have been heroes...
We don't have BYOD at work, still have staff PCs taking up 45% of the desk space, but we do have a 'home desktop' via Citrix ICA and we have guest wifi in the building. I've been using the ICA receiver on my own laptop here for a couple of days and noone has noticed the difference. The next step in my master plan is to blow my cover and ask if the desktop PC can be recycled somewhere else...
...then I can have some space to actually think (which, being old, I do on paper)
No, just no
My company has decided to trial letting staff use of personal iphones and ipads to access work email and calenders (all via a secure, sandbox app). I politely declined for 3 main reasons
1) I can turn my work blackberry off and throw it in a drawer off at the weekend. With my iPad there would be a temptation to look at work.
2) There would be no subsidy to either the cost or data charges for using my personal device. If you want me to work outside of the office you can't expect ME to pay for the priviledge.
3) I read the small print of the agreement my employer wanted me to sign. They wanted me to give them access to ALL of the data on my device, copies of my device passwords and the ability to wipe the device clean if they so chose (remember, everything was going to be in a sandbox app so a full device wipe is total overkill)