The industry word on the BYOD trend

apps-iphone

Marten Jagers, Senior Director APAC Concur, shares his insights into the latest BYOD trend, and how the apps we download will affect it.

Why is the BYOD trend taking off?

One of the obvious trends we’re seeing is the employees have greater choice, and ultimately they are making the choice to help them be more effective at what they do. So I think employees are driving a lot of the behavioural side of the technology, such as BYOA, and ultimately they’re making those choices for them to be more effective and also driving the significant business value as well to help them do their jobs faster and better.

From a small business perspective, is BYOD effective in the workplace?

I think it is. It’s definitely a transformation we can’t ignore. We have around two million apps available in app stores today, and the reality is our employees have the ability to make decisions, and download things which allow them to produce and be more productive in what they do. But the other component is collaboration, they collaborate faster and that’s with both internal stakeholders and external stakeholders with these apps. I think that’s a trend that’s allowing the employees to do their jobs better. But I think it also creates opportunities for an organisation to understand their employees better, to see what parts of the technology they’re using and how they can implement it not just for individuals, but how they can potentially make it enterprise wide.

In using these apps, what issues do you see small businesses facing?

I think there’s a natural concern and risk around secure information, what happens to our data when it goes into a domain that we haven’t approved or have access to. So I think that’s a natural feeling and also it’s a transformation to pull back when so many people have gone down a particular trend. Organisations need to find a middle ground of understanding what the risks are and what the benefits are. And what we’re seeing is that the benefits far outweigh the risks for SMBs because these apps are not expensive. So I think it’s a matter of finding that middle ground, working with companies that have enterprise ready and multi-platform apps that can be automatically rolled out across your organisation.

You’re overwhelmingly positive then!

I’m not only a business owner but I’m a user too. I have many apps on my own device. We have a BYOD model ourselves at Concur. I was introduced to apps like Basecamp and OneNote by my colleagues in order to collaborate more and share information faster.

This technology does also allows you to share across borders. When I say cross border, I mean internal or external, international or domestic, with a lot more speed. Basically that’s why I’m so in favour of them, because I think they’ve offered significant value to our team as they’ve grown.

Do you have any other favourite apps that are useful?

We saw this trend with an app called Tripit. Concur does own Tripit now. Traditionally we’d take a paper print out of our itinerary, we might have multiple itineraries to put in our folder when we travel, but what Tripit does is, it allows us to send all the information via email and it comes up as an electronic itinerary on our phones. And what we saw is that employees made the choice to use this app as they wanted real time access to their itinerary information, but they didn’t want just that, they wanted real time gate alerts when changes to their gates were made, they wanted to be told proactively if there was a disruption, and employees were making this choice well before it became an enterprise app. These are some of the apps that are helping our employees be a lot more effective in what they do but also collaborate their information so everyone has access to those disruptions.

One thing I’d like to highlight is the empowerment of employees to make a choice, that to me makes companies far more engaged with their employees, and that’s something I’m hearing a lot more of. How do I actually draw an SMB model which means people want to come and work for me.

Would you encourage collaboration between the employee and the employer when it comes to security?

Absolutely. I think with there being two million apps, there are naturally going to be apps out there that aren’t enterprise ready. But I think at the same time, there’s a great opportunity because we can start to understand the apps that people are bringing into the workplace but we can also ensure that the ones that we want to promote are. There are going to be things that we just can’t control. I think it’s very important for organisations to communicate to the employees the potential risk and some of the alerts they should be looking for. Whether it’s certain apps, or in the behaviour in downloading apps, and what the impact could be from an organisational standpoint, I certainly think that’s critical.

Do you think there should be limitations as to what people can download?

I’m a business owner and a user, so my answer is no. I think there does have to be a limitation in so far as we are promoting best practice to our employee base, so I think there has to be a proactive approach from organisations. It’s very hard for SMBs that don’t have big IT departments, don’t have the ability to invest in this space, but in keeping up to date with what technology is available, our best source is our employee.  So restricting that might be restricting you moving ahead as an organisation. The reality is it’s here, it’s here to stay, it’s going to move faster then what we’ve probably all predicted but for me, that just creates opportunity.

There are so many handy apps.

There are, and they’re simple and collaborative.

We’re seeing this trend go viral. Not just single platform but multiplatform apps, how they collaborate with other apps. I think what you’ll find is that companies will start to work closer together on the enterprise front and the app front, to allow us to come together in a more secure environment. We have about 80-90 other app providers that build inside Concur, what we do for our millions of users is ensure they are secure and safe and have multilayered benefits.