There has been so much talk around BYOD in the past five years.
The inexorable growth of this phenomenon led Gartner, in the summer, to predict that by 2017, half of all employers may impose a mandatory BYOD policy and that by 2016 – just two years from now – about two fifths of firms will dump workplace PCs, tablets and phones in favour of letting staff use their own devices in the office. Whether these predictions hold true or not, BYOD is certainly in vogue.
To date most of the discussion around BYOD has centred on IT department policy, productivity and security. However BYOD has many other implications. For example, the ability to access the corporate network anywhere, anytime, from any device has a massive impact on the applications on that network. A BYOD strategy also has to cover the architecture of these applications. Designing applications to meet the demands of BYOD is certainly not the same as setting usage policies or drafting sourcing plans.
Taking a holistic view, BYOD extends beyond policies. It should be a design ethos that delivers a vendor-neutral, flexible application portfolio. Conversely, if the applications that should be accessible to myriad devices are technically constrained and consequently limit choice and usage, then any purchasing or other policy is a waste of time.
So BYOD does have a very real impact on software developers. No longer are they creating apps that will be used purely by employees who are forced to adhere to the standards and control set by the IT department. Rather they have to develop applications that work with many, many different devices inside and outside the corporate network.
Developing apps to meet this breadth of users is considered part of global class computing. Essentially it is about designing systems and architectures that extend computing processes outside the business and into the cultures of the consumer, mobile worker and supplier. The approach allows for the fact that users will be accessing these applications anywhere, anytime and from any device, and therefore they need to be designed to truly optimise the network infrastructure.
If you are developing apps that are BYOD compliant – am I sure many of us will be in the very near future – 6 key points to consider are:
- Native v Web
- Screen size
- Active Directory-less and Group Policy-less
…and of course the user expectation that apps will look consumer. Good luck and do get in touch to share any tips you have.