Dell, Intel: BYOD Is Productivity Powerhouse

A survey conducted by Dell and Intel has uncovered that the bring-your-own-device to work trend is effective in stimulating mobile and productive employees – though it's not without security concerns. Meeting the demands of trepidacious businesses is a unique opportunity for channel partners, especially as BYOD becomes commonplace in a mobile-first world.

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In a jointly-funded survey, Dell and Intel Corp. took a close look at 8,360 workers across the globe and interviewed 29 global executives and technology experts. The purpose: Find out if BYOD trends and mobile workers contribute to increased productivity. In short, the answer is a resounding "yes."

After a multi-year effort through the Evolving Workforce Research program, a few important findings were uncovered.

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First, the good news: Workforce productivity has increased by allowing employees choice in their computing devices. Expanding work privileges to allow for more mobile workers also boosts overall productivity. And, shockingly straightforward, the survey reveals that employees who work on the devices they love in places they prefer quickly "optimize their outputs."

The caveat is, of course, security. Business leaders agree that personal devices can expose the company to security risks, like data loss from theft or accidental employee leakage. Businesses can also be unaware of the security ramifications and challenges related to a full bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program.

At its core, there's a trust issue, particularly with regards to businesses offering transparent IT polices. The survey shows that enabling IT transparency can actually build trust among employees, fueling more productivity and creating a balance in risk management on a personal, per-employee level. This doesn't obviate associated security issues, but it's a noble step in the right direction. The cost of trust is rewarded by a marked increase in employee loyalty, which on its own can be a considerable asset if that employee is mobile and productive.

What's more, the findings also conclude that the world is becoming a more mobile-dependent workforce. Businesses must adopt a new strategy that slipstreams the company into the future while appropriately disposing of, or augmenting, traditional IT methods. A mobile-first strategy will soon become commonplace.

But none of this comes with the flick of a switch. There needs to be "strategic innovation" to make the pieces fit. Every pain point and asterisk on the effectiveness of BYOD represents an opportunity for channel partners. Businesses that are concerned about data loss would do well with DLP solutions and next-generation firewalls, either in the cloud or in the data center. Issues about employee access to sensitive data can be mitigated with advanced MDM technologies that allow for application-specific controls, regardless of platform.

BYOD also requires infrastructure. There's so much talk about mobile devices in the workplace that the obvious need to implement a wireless network can be overlooked. Outside marginal hardware sales, there's a very real market for consultative services.

The survey reveals that many businesses, while eager to adopt, need help making it happen. BYOD doesn't automatically guarantee productivity, so VARs and solution providers have an opportunity to show businesses which mobile apps and cloud technologies can help produce a mobile workforce that meets productivity demands. Solution providers that can track and detect that level of productivity will also make themselves very attractive.

The distilled essence of these findings, as related to the channel, are actually quite simple: BYOD will be the norm in a short time. Solution providers need to specialize and get certified, if not for the opportunity today, but the opportunity tomorrow.

Once Windows 8 tablets equipped with the new Office hit shelves, there will be no turning back. BYOD will evolve from a workplace luxury to the core of everyday productivity.

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