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Bring your own IT evolves from BYOD

Devices were just the tip of the iceberg. Constant connectivity and cloud computing make it easier than ever to bring your own IT wherever you go.

In this era of terabyte-plus USB drives, cloud computing and high-performing client devices, bring your own IT is a lot easier than most people think.

Many workers -- carpenters, mechanics, even technical professionals -- bring their own tools to work.  These workers have pride of ownership and a constant willingness to maintain, upgrade, streamline and innovate. Knowing that one's toolset is always available, appropriate, familiar and in good working order increases productivity and quality of the product or service delivered.

The bring your own phenomenon should extend well beyond tools and devices.

A corresponding concept, BYOD, has been a fixture in the business world for some time now. Many firms embrace or at least allow the practice of employees using their personal computers, smartphones and tablets. Organizations can lower their capital budgets, and workers can use devices that they like and are most productive with. Even support costs can be lower, at least with the right mobility management strategy and tools in place.

The bring your own phenomenon should extend well beyond tools and devices. It's always been my goal to achieve mobility nirvana: having my entire organizational infrastructure be mobile. The idea of being able to accomplish a particular task only when in the office is painful at best.

Information, applications and connectivity are the keys that open the door to this era of bring your own everything (BYOx). I travel a good deal and work on several projects at once. I must have everything I need available at a moment's notice no matter where I might be. Some professionals have been doing this for some time. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Years ago I designed a complete IT solution for a disaster relief agency. The idea was to have a facility that could be dropped out of a plane, set up in minutes, backhauled by satellite, interconnected by pre-Wi-Fi WLANs and powered by generators -- truly a bring your own IT scenario.
  • For years, field-audit teams (technical, financial and beyond) have arrived at a client site and set up their own IT infrastructure -- a basic requirement given the task at hand, where independence is critical. All it takes is an access point equipped with a cellular router (which is really easy today), and the rest is PCs and software. The entire infrastructure can be on the air in minutes.

Of course, BYOx could be viewed as a rogue operation without proper clearance from IT where required. But the trend is going to see a massive increase in popularity over the next few years, driven by BYOD and the amazing range of capabilities now available in the cloud.

All one needs is a mobile device and some form of connectivity, and the rest can be provisioned, managed and maintained entirely in the virtual domain. Bring your own IT is the gateway to mobility nirvana.

Next Steps

What is bring your own technology?

Plan for the future of mobility

Consider these four BYOD challenges

This was last published in September 2015

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What are some of the risks of bring your own IT?
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The risks of BYOIT are similar in most instances to the BYOD arguments. Or specifically the arguments IT managers make AGAINST BYOD. Trouble is that with BYOIT, you're supplanting the IT oversight as well and bringing new or outside tech into the business. The biggest risk is right there. Cutting the CIO, IT team and even the CTO out of the control loop. There could be proprietary and security issues users would never even think to look for...but these are very real and possibly damaging to the entire enterprise. While I don't believe in giving IT supreme control over devices, I think I would provide them more leeway when it comes to BYOIT.
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Easier than ever isn't an argument for doing something. It's easy to speed on well-lit roads, but there's a reason for speed limits just as there's a reason for having oversight from your IT department. While BYOD may have smoothed out the roadway (staying with the analogy) to productivity, it doesn't automatically equate to allowing users to shed IT resources and dictate their own path. Security of data and resources is the biggest reason to keep IT in the loop and in control. *And I'm not a fan of IT minions having their hands in everything. But in some cases it's a real necessity.
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Really liked the way in which you described 'mobility nirvana'. It really describes the present scenario, where everyone prefers using their own devices while at work as it makes things a lot easier. Although there's a lot of talk about BYOD these days, honestly, there is still a lack of clarity on what exactly constitutes BYOD. More importantly, what does it mean for the enterprise including the employees as well as the IT personnel.

As you deploy BYOD in your business, keep in mind what goals it will fulfill. How you define the BYOD for your organization will depend largely on what you want to get done and what tools it will take to make that happen.
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