Timothy D. Garcia, founder and CEO of Apptricity, provider of mobile enterprise software solutions, recently shared his thoughts on corporate policies related to devices employees bring to the job: so-called BYOD, meaning Bring Your Own Device.
Arguably, the most significant trend in enterprise computing in more than a decade, BYOD represents a mixed bag of opportunities and risks for companies of all sizes and in virtually every business category. The personalization of mobility caught many organizations off guard. There are major challenges to operating in a BYOD environment, especially in warehouse management, transportation management, e-procurement, and financial productivity.
Garcia has outlined the following seven challenges and suggests how business leaders can confront each of these potential hurdles:
1. Program devices and develop apps. “Since most employees will be using either iOS, Android, Windows or even Blackberry devices to connect to the company network, money needs to be invested to program each of those mobile platforms into the network,” said Garcia. “This will require developing or purchasing apps that allow employees to connect to the company’s network. Additional funds will be necessary to keep these apps up-to-date.”
2. Train employees. “Your employees will need to be taught how to use the apps, as well as all the necessary security procedures,” said Garcia. “Intuitive usability should be a key factor in selecting any software.”
3. Data lag. “Since BYOD connections typically are made via public wireless communication networks, there’s likely going to be some lag time,” says Garcia. “For supply chain data transmission functions, a 30-second to 3-minute delay can introduce significant and costly inefficiencies. It’s important to ensure that the apps you choose grant real-time command visibility.”
4. Cell coverage issues. “Warehouses are often located in industrial parks or areas where cell transmission capacity is relatively low,” said Garcia. “Big metal warehouses are notorious for cell transmission problems. Spotty coverage can cause trouble for companies that rely heavily on seamless communication. Make sure that the platform can accommodate these “breakages” and not lose valuable data.”
5. Device ruggedness. “Supply chain environments are tough places for handheld devices,” says Garcia. “There’s dirt, dust, water and concrete floors. Employers have to decide if the company should be able to dictate what devices employees can use.”
6. Data security. “Companies must ask themselves several questions regarding cyber security when considering the potential risk to data security,” says Garcia. “Where do employees store corporate or customer data? What if a smartphone is lost or stolen? Are the data transmissions secure? How does the company get its data back and secured when an employee leaves the company? How does your company prevent accidental sharing of corporate or private data? Are the solutions compliant with security protocols?”
7. Device support. “Inevitably, employees’ devices will hiccup every once in a while and your employees will make mistakes while using their own devices,” said Garcia. “Companies must determine ahead of time who is responsible for certain costs. Should your company hire and train experts in all the mobile platforms – or outsource that work? If company-provided troubleshooting leads to a device being rendered permanently unusable, who pays to replace it? Does the software have a user experience that is easy to use and reduces potential for errors?”
Employees appreciate BYOD policies, but there are several important questions companies need to address before implementing one.
Apptricity Corporation provides mission-critical supply chain management and integrated finance solutions to Fortune 500 companies, small and midsize enterprises and government organizations across the globe. Apptricity software and solutions mobilize any enterprise with unprecedented levels of real-time information and business intelligence so management has visibility into every action and transaction within the enterprise and among its partners, customers and suppliers. For more information, visit www.apptricity.com.