Bring Your Own Device to work – Dimension Data’s journey

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Large-scale implementations of BYOD policies and programs, and the benefits that flow from this, are thin on the ground. Ian Jansen outlines how Dimension Data has progressed on their BYOD journey.

When it comes to enterprise mobility, and given the increasing focus on this by media and the business community, there is a widely held view that many corporations in this market are in the process of implementing large scale, high end, enterprise mobility solutions into their organisations.  

The reality of this is that enterprise mobility, in the context of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs, is only just now becoming more familiar to large corporations. Large-scale implementations of BYOD policies and programs, and the benefits that flow from this, are in practical terms, thin on the ground.  

We have witnessed growing momentum in terms of corporations allowing personally owned PCs, laptops and devices to be used in the workplace; however, this is only scratching the surface of enterprise mobility. We wanted to take this opportunity to share a brief overview of how we here at Dimension Data have progressed down this path. What better way to advise our clients about enterprise mobility strategies, than to implement a fully-fledged BYOD environment in our own backyard? In all this, we need to recognise that BYOD is only a small component of the broader enterprise mobility process, but in of itself is a key enabler in the enterprise mobility equation. We will address more of that later.

For now, BYOD programs signal a highly visible shift in the market. The reason for this is that it captures hearts and minds of the work force in allowing them to use devices and laptops that they prefer. This is being driven by the proliferation and growth of mobile adoption and the phenomenal adoption of tablets in enterprise environments, such as the iPad. This is a departure from previous allocation of corporate mandated PCs, laptops and mobile devices and seen as a strong philosophical shift to provide greater freedom of choice for employees. It is also symbolic of an increasingly mobile workforce.

However, with choice comes risk. The related mitigation strategies for this needs careful and ongoing management.

Our BYOD journey

Dimension Data has been an early adopter of the BYOD philosophy/approach having implemented a BYOD policy across the company earlier this year. Of approximately 2,000 Australian employees, Dimension Data has a growing pool of hundreds of smartphones, tables and computers that are being brought in to work and integrating with the existing network infrastructure. The process of implementing this program continues to evolve, and the company has initiated a formal registration process to help manage the BYOD program more efficiently.

Core to the BYOD program for Dimension Data are the business efficiencies gained through workflow that understands mobility and BYO. People may not be at their desks, and they may not be on a corporate device.. in fact they may be working from home, traveling or just have their smartphone phone with them when they run an errand.

This has brought about a measureable and genuine satisfaction amongst staff in the way the business supports and drives adoption across multiple devices. They can use what they want, when they want.  It is inherently about giving the staff an array of choice around the tools they use everyday.

For Dimension Data, reducing cost with BYOD has not been a driver, focusing instead on the significant and material impact on business efficiency. Mobility of the workforce contributes enormously to business efficiency, and for us, BYOD is core to facilitating it for our employees.

Human resources play a pivotal role in our BYOD program, in that they encourage BYOD participation with new and incoming employees. Currently they are collaborating with IT to build incentives that are built into the employment contract from day one to encourage registration and adoption of the BYOD environment. We want this to become an embedded part of our culture as a flexible employer of choice.

Key areas of focus for Dimension Data’s BYOD program include:

 

  • Security of data
  • Accessibility of device - all devices are embraced, welcomed and allowed to attach to the network as long as they meet minimum requirements.
  • Mandating registration of devices so that there is clear integration path for the device in terms of being visible as a ‘client’ within the IT infrastructure
  • Staff compliance and adoption of Dimension Data’s BYOD policy to ensure consistency of approach and alignment with appropriate security protocols and ownership behaviours

 

What are the pros?

 

  • The recognition by the company that this is an important aspect for our younger staff
  • The BYOD environment mean employees see the company as very progressive and adept in providing access in meeting the need of the business and the worker
  • Positive feedback is most vocal in regards to productivity beyond  simple email with services like workflow and data mobility. This allows people to access their data no matter where they are, and the ability to participate in business workflow without having to be tethered in the office.
  • Previously when we built a website function or application, we tested this exclusively on a corporate computer. With the company wide focus on BYOD, we now look at the functions from a broader perceptive, both from a design and technology function. It makes us more agile as a business
  • Increasing flexibility around staff hours particularly parents, who can now log in during timeframes that best suit their broader commitments both as a staff member and as a new parent
  • Some of our clients require our teams to be onsite for extended periods of time. In some cases years. Having access to the data and capabilities that would normally only be available in the office environment, means that stay better connected, and are less isolated. Their remoteness from the office is no longer a hurdle

 

What are the cons?

 

  • Access where ever we go and whatever time of day, means that there will be the inevitable blurring of work and life balance. We need to be mindful of managing this better and implement appropriate education around expectation of when staff should be on line and recognise the clear delineation between work and home

 

Summary

Our BYOD journey will continue to evolve. There is strong support from across the executive Dimension Data team for this program and early gains in terms of business efficiency and flexibility for staff who are very often on site with clients, continues to provide positive reinforcement for this program. 

Our vision is that in time to come up to 80% staff will be fully registered and across the program and we’ll continue to extract productivity benefits from this, as well as making our staff more content with the freedom to choose the way they work best.

 

About the author 

Ian Jansen is Dimension Data’s CIO

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