If you read the tech articles for business you will have read about the technical issues with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) but if you are in the small to medium enterprise (SME) space with less than a couple of hundred staff it is possible that you are simply limiting your ability to perform.
There is a new frontier in technology at the moment and it is being led by the development of portable technology solutions that devices can offer. We have all read about apps for iPhone and iPad that are low cost and solve specific problems, but as more tablets emerge and as Windows 8 is now a reality there are more opportunities to tie together the use of accelerometers, GPS, Bluetooth, video cameras, 4G wireless capabilities, touch screens and powerful processors.
Add to all of this cloud software for key business functions from email to document management to financial systems and suddenly being device-ready is a huge business opportunity SME business owners should be taking advantage of.
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No matter what industry you are in there are mobile, device-based apps or cloud-based tools that can liberate your team. Your sales staff really do not need to spend much time in the office and the business owner should have full visibility of where they are and how their sales are progressing.
The right use of tools gives us measurement and accountability as well as freedom to do the things we need to from wherever we are.
We do need to consider the security side of BYOD as these devices can grant access to private information. Of course, a good IT person should be able to ensure a password is required to gain access to every device linked to the office system through some smart profile settings.
I agree this is not secure enough if you are a bank or a large corporate organisation but for most small businesses it is typically secure enough. One cannot ignore the issue or make assumptions about how it probably works. It must be set up correctly.
Another risk that should be considered is that if employee productivity is dependent on a personally provided device, what happens to their productivity when the device breaks? Can you insist that the employee finds the spare hundreds or thousands of dollars to replace the device so they can remain productive?
You may need to consider keeping a bank of spare devices to cover these times or be ready to fork out to buy a replacement just to keep them working.
The good news is that there are now tools that allow the IT department to do efficient mobile device management which can allow IT to set security profiles, push out applications, remote wipe devices and so on. If you are too small to have an IT department there are service providers who do this along with server and PC support or cloud solution administration so it will not create extra work for you or your office staff.
David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.