Tidal wave alert

Tidal wave alert

Ready or not, mobility is here to stay, say three IT leaders who share their experiences on the road to BYOD.

According to IDC, the enterprise mobility market in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) will increase from US$6.9 billion in 2013 to US$12.8 billion by 2017. In New Zealand, this market will grow nearly 20 percent in that same period of time, and will reach US$277 million, says Charles Anderson, head of telecom practice, mobility lead, IDC Asia/Pacific. Locally, the highest growth rate is expected to be in mobile value-added services (VAS), with a local market growth rate of 29 percent (CAGR) through 2017, Anderson says. VAS is about mobilising business applications; mobile security,mobile enterprise management and virtual client computing. The expected growth in these areas means that local organisations are investing in getting to the next stage of mobility, he says.

“It’s not just about the person anymore, it’s about the process. If you really want to drive value, you need to look into the specific business processes that you can mobilise.”

BYOD isn’t a trend, it’s now the norm, Anderson says. Nevertheless, only about 20 percent of Asia-Pacific organisations have a formal BYOD policy in place, according to IDC’s research. Nearly half of organisations allow BYOD but have no formal policy. About 5 percent don’t allow staff to bring their own devices at all.

The enterprise mobility ecosystem is fragmented and this has slowed adoption – simply because people don’t know who to turn to, Anderson says. He recommends looking for partners that can do more than one thing, and who can meet your requirements today but also support your strategy tomorrow.

In 2013, organisations will move from mobilising the person, to mobilising business processes — such as field services, sales, BI, customer interaction — to finally, mobilising the entire channel, for example supply chain and manufacturing.

Controlled devices at MPI

The Ministry for Primary Industries has 2400 staff across 150 sites and supports around 1700 mobile devices, says Bryce Johnson, manager of service delivery. The organisation started its foray into mobility in 2009 — it then had 850 3G-connected laptops that could dial in via VPN. In 2010, the ministry moved away from in-house support to managed mobile services.

“We moved to a completely outsourced service and with that, the mobile noise just went away,” Johnson says. “People got the service they were expecting. Their problems got solved, and it didn’t matter where in the world they were.”

Today, “everything operational” is outsourced. Johnson and his team of four in-house IT staff run a “service aggregation model” with Fujitsu managing operations on a day-to-day basis.

The organisation started out with BlackBerrys — it was the easiest and most secure option at the time, but demand for the iPhone grew and support for Apple’s smartphone was introduced in 2011.

“Every IT managers nightmare — the proof-of-concept was with our senior executive team. They wanted the iPhone,” Johnson says.

Initially, it was a challenge to find the balance between keeping the devices secure and meeting end-user expectations. Johnson and his team found the middle way in a limited lockdown model.

“So, users can download apps and put their own apps on the phone but if they lose it, we will wipe it. In return for that control, the user gets a better usability experience,” Johnson explains.

Also in 2011, “IT stopped pushing against the tide” and the Ministry trialled iPads with senior managers. As a result, the organisation needed to deploy wi-fi as 3G was going to cost a fortune, he says. Today, wi-fi has been extended to all major sites.

In March 2012, the ministry rolled out iPhones and iPads but “put some pretty heavy controls around who could get them”. And in May last year, a comprehensive BYOD policy was introduced. There are about 40 BYOD devices in the organisation now and they come under two allowance models, he says. If management agrees that you need it for your everyday work, the allowance will cover data and daytime calls. If management doesn’t think you need it, there is no allowance.

“But we let you bring it in and connect to our environment,” he says. “The device comes under MPI’s management and gets treated like we own it. If you lose it, we will blow it away.”

He adds that, to date, only two devices had to be wiped — one got left at Heathrow airport and the other is somewhere in Mexico.

The allowance is a flat rate, based on domestic usage. “We came to the conclusion that we are better off paying a flat rate rather than trying to do actuals — [due to] the amount of work involved in trying to track actuals,” he says.

The ministry is now about to move to cloud-based mobile device management with Mobile Mentor, which is expected to “take a load away” from the in-house team, Johnson says. The ministry is also implementing Windows 8 tablets and phones.

“At this stage, you can’t share iPads — they are a single-user device. A lot of our users are out in the field doing shift work, so you either buy one for each one, or go for a multi-tenant device.”

From there on, it’s onto mobile apps, says Johnson. So far, the MPI has done very little in that space so there are big future opportunities in areas such as disease incursion, fisheries inspection, animal welfare, fishing vessel observation, food safety inspections and cargo and border clearance. However, mobile reception in rural areas is still a challenge.

“Mobility is coming and trying to stop it is like telling the tide not to come in,” says Johnson. “You are going to get wet.”

You need to be proactive and get a mobile policy in place now, he adds. The devices will be out there, you just won’t know about them.

“And once they are in, it’s a lot harder to set policies.”

Embrace the change

Giving employees the option to choose their device and enhancing their user experience are the main drivers behind embracing BYOD at Mondelez International, says Marcelo De Santis, Asia Pacific director of information systems at the company. There were also cost savings, mainly due to relieving the IT team of the responsibility of buying, managing and supporting devices.

“We decided about BYOD after recognising that employees were already bringing their devices to the office — mainly tablets,” says De Santis.

Securing the devices and the information on them is priority one, he says.

“There are certain ‘standards’ that are enforced so that people working on different types of devices have basic programs such as encryption, antivirus, minimum operating system standards, etc. There are also a set of legal agreements that are required to be signed by the employee before they join the programme.”

De Santis and his team also look at the ability of the employee to self-support the hardware and software — “we do not allow those not having those capabilities to be part of the BYOD programme”, he says.

BYOD has been adopted within the company across the whole Asia-Pacific region, but to varying degrees, he says — ranging from users who use both company-issued hardware and their own devices to those who work entirely from personal devices.

“Our challenges have not been technical but rather working through local HR laws, practices and policies,” De Santis says. “We have also had to work through cultural aspects that vary across our developing markets, like Indonesia, and our developed markets, like Australia and New Zealand.”

The BYOD programme started two years ago and adoption is increasing gradually, he says. Today between 10-15 percent of employees are part of the programme, with most of them being new hires.

De Santis was previously with Kraft, where he also started a BYOD programme, and he gained some valuable insights from that project.

“One of the most important learnings was the need to have the main applications — like main corporate applications, email, intranet and collaboration tools — working on the cloud,” he says. “That facilitated the adoption of BYOD.”

De Santis’ key advice to other organisations that are considering implementing BYOD is to embrace the change.

“You will find many reasons to hold out or not embark on BYOD. But change is inevitable as employees are already bringing their tablets and smartphones to the office and accessing corporate email and documents.”

Secondly, virtualise your main enterprise applications, leveraging the cloud — that will simplify your infrastructure, he says.

He also recommends creating an internal community of BYOD users.

“Use your internal social media tools to connect them and let them help each other,” he says. “You can also learn from those virtual conversations and identify areas of improvement for the programme itself.”

Finally, don’t look only at the savings aspect, he says. “You can make BYOD a way to provide employees with an option thus improving the attractiveness of your workplace, specifically for the new generation of workers.”

Consulting users gained buy-in

At Laidlaw College, going down the BYOD path was a logical move, says ICT manager, Nanyi Gong.

The Christian tertiary institution has around 100 staff and about 1000 students across two campuses – one in Auckland and one in Christchurch. As the college doesn’t have the financial capability to supply each student with a computer, or to increase the capacity of the existing computer labs, allowing BYOD made sense. In the last three or four years, students have started to bring in one or more of their own devices, expecting to have the same access to the internet, file storage, and printing as in the computer labs, says Gong.

“The perception of accessing the internet and other IT services has moved from being a ‘privilege’ to being a ‘right’,” he says.

While the demand came mainly from students, staff can also use their own smartphones and tablets while on campus, in addition to their standard college-owned laptop or PC.

Gong and his team of two consulted widely with staff, faculty and students before implementing BYOD.

“We didn’t want to be ‘thinking on behalf of students and staff of what they want’, which potentially could be very different from what they actually needed,” says Gong.

This led to a better understanding of what the users wanted and needed, which helped the college make better decisions. But it also engaged the users and gained their buy-in, he says.

The college currently manages more than 200 devices between its two campuses.

Cultural change has been a big part of the journey towards BYOD success, Gong says. He recommends a three-step change management methodology. First promote why the changes are good, he says. Then allow a transition period rather than go for a big-bang approach. Finally, he says, “Make the old ways impossible.”


Beyond the BYOD hype

The approach to allowing people to use mobile technology at the workplace is not as complex or problematical as often “talked up”, writes Simon Shears, an ex-CIO and now IT/management consultant.

Technology planners: Think beyond BYOD

Standing still is not a practical option. Today, the question is no longer if BYOD should be implemented but how it should be implemented, and what part it should play in the strategic vision of the enterprise, writes Kevin Noonan of Ovum.

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