Giles Hawtin, innovations director, Service Birmingham explores the benefits of Bring Your Own Device.
Are you old enough to remember when the technology at work was more advanced than the stuff you had at home? Well, things have changed. Technology marches on and so does its availability. Tablets and smartphones we use in our everyday lives provide simple and accessible technology that can let us work any time, any place and anywhere.
Our desire to use our own smartphones and tablets at work gave birth to the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), where an organisation allows staff to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops to access work networks and applications.
Naysayers claim that it is just too risky to implement, that data is insecure and that devices can leave the network open to cyber threats. Also - who picks up the bill to repair or replace equipment damaged at work?
BYOD champions argue that solutions can be put in place to tackle these concerns. BYOD is here to stay and it can offer many benefits to local authorities that are under financial pressure and looking to transform services. The flexibility created by employees (especially non-office based ones) using their own devices increases efficiency and can reduce cost.
A new breed of technology savvy employee has been born and they want to work with the technology they know and love. Why not harness that knowledge and motivation to increase productivity? Surely it’s good for morale too?
BYOD is growing at a rapid rate and is arguably the biggest development in workplace IT over the last decade. It’s gaining momentum in the public sector too, but while the majority have begun to embrace BYOD, many organisations have yet to put in specific and enforceable policies in place for users.
At Service Birmingham - Capita’s joint venture with Birmingham City Council - we have implemented a mobile device management solution allowing the council to use mobile devices to securely access the network and exploit cloud based applications.
So, the technology solutions are out there and it is possible to have a secure, manageable BYOD policy in a Local Authority. The next question is whether the right devices are out there to deliver needs to both desktop and mobile workers alike?