Is BYOD Really a Viable Option for Mission Critical Solutions?

I have been involved in enterprise mobility for many years, and have watched enthusiastically as mobility has evolved into a massive technological, societal and cultural force.  I have witnessed mobile technologies changing entire industries and driving business growth.  I have studied the impact of mobility on productivity and competition.  I now wonder if we have reached the point where mobile solutions are so important that companies cannot afford to support a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy.

This morning I was reading a new detailed whitepaper on BYOD titled "Making BYOD Work for Your Organization” - http://get.cognizant.com/register

 What do you think?  Have you tried both and tracked the costs?  If so, I would love to hear from you.

 I have also been pondering the changing role of mobile solutions in companies.  Mobile solutions have evolved into mission critical solutions - solutions that businesses require to complete important day-to-day tasks.  Are businesses OK with letting these mission critical processes and solutions run on a devices of their employees' choosing and maintenance?  What if the mobile device breaks and the employee has no budget to replace it?  Can companies require their employees to replace a BYOD device so they can continue to be productive?  At what point do employees' decisions negatively impact the company’s customer service and productivity?

 It seems to me that as mobile devices become required tools for productivity, the business must take more steps to ensure that business processes dependent upon mobile solutions function properly and efficiently.  There are also considerations around achieving economies of scale in the app development process and the support and maintenance of mobile devices.  There need to be standards of some sort to maximize efficiencies and that reduce the TOC (total cost of ownership).

Here is a silly scenario I would invite you to consider.  An automobile manufacture decides to allow employees to bring their own tools to the assembly line.  The manufacture believes it will save costs and argues their employees would be happier to bring their favorite tools from home.  As a result there are thousands of different tools on the factory floor, some of better quality than others.  Some tools work well, others don't.  Soon tools are breaking, getting lost and needing replaced.   Non-standard tools mean many trips to different suppliers for parts, services and repairs.  Each time a tool has a problem it impacts the production of automobiles.  Sometimes an employee does not have the money to replace their tools when they break.  The assembly line stops.  Does this sound like a good model?

 At some point, perhaps now, mobile solutions are as important to a business as the right tools on a manufacture’s assembly line.  When must a company step in to ensure maximum productivity around mobile devices?

I think BYOD is often promoted by MDM/MAM (mobile device management or mobile application management) vendors as a justification for buying their solutions.  Not a bad approach, but again I wonder if the BYOD trend is actually in the best interest of most businesses.

 I think if a company embraces a BYOD strategy, then they should look to simplify mobile apps and standardize on HTML5, so they can easily support the maximum number of mobile devices.  If a company chooses both native app development and a BYOD strategy, they risk being buried in an avalanche of complexity and being completely dependent on other platform vendors to support this model.

 Mobility is powerful and supports efficiencies and productivity gains.  Mobile solutions support social and collaborative business processes in real time.  These benefits are massive.  I would encourage companies not to delay receiving these benefits by making the support of mobility more difficult that it needs to be.

 I want to hear your opinions on BYOD.  What do you think?  Please comment!!!