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A yearning for the habitual is what drives BYODpic 1.jpg

While we might claim we want to live our lives like a beer commercial (with a mighty thirst for undying adventure), in the end it’s more puffery than not because we end up migrating toward what is comfortable and familiar. When it comes to our work tools, we don’t want the challenge of the unknown - we want familiarity. That’s why BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is so popular. We don’t want to jump back and forth between different devices with disparate operating systems, search for buried bookmarks, or explore never-before-seen versions of software. If you're like me, in a hurry most of the time, anything that slows you down even slightly tends to be pushed aside very quickly.


The Dreaded Learning Curve


When you are handed a completely different and new shiny object at the office, you might feel elated at first (especially if the equipment is better than your own), but you also know you’re going to face a frustrating learning curve that will, at a minimum, slow you down while you figure out the nuances. I heard a lot of friends howling and complaining about being forced from the comfort of Microsoft® Windows 7® into the unfamiliar territory of Windows 8®. Think back to the years before you had a preferred mobile operating system. Before you became an iOS devotee, or perhaps an Android™ zealot. Do you remember how frustrating the learning curve was when you acquired a new phone? It doesn’t matter if it is a massive upgrade - it’s a new massive upgrade, and new nearly always means disruptive.


Pros of BYOD


Is BYOD “good” or “bad”? Like most questions, the answer depends on whom you ask.


1. Productivity


Employers aren’t stupid (most of them, at any rate). They know that when employees are allowed to access work email on a personal smartphone, they will check email 20+ times per day more and end up working as much as two extra hours each day. The Telegraph notes that nearly 9 out of 10 office workers can access work email on their phones, and two-thirds of them check email as soon as they wake up, and right before they go to bed.


2. One Consistent Device


When you use the same devices at home and at work, you don’t need to learn multiple systems or switch back and forth to access bookmarks, search history, apps and software, etc. This is an enormous advantage with BYOD. It is all about productivity, and a consistent experience that keeps me focused and moving fast.


3. Cool factor


Mitch Landry, a BMC principal product manager based in Gig Harbor, Washington said, "Historically, IT shops only would let you use approved devices. It was all about IT. You would go to the IT guys, and everyone was an idiot but them. And if you put something on your desktop that wasn't approved, they would remove it. That has totally changed. IT is no longer is running the ship, they are a service organization.”


Landry said that a new generation is growing into management positions and demanding to use personal devices (tablets, Macs, smartphones, etc.) once considered unconventional and unsupportable. “They have all these devices and new expectations for service, and the goal for the IT guy today is providing business flexibility and agility. It's not just about IT anymore, it's about increasing the productivity of the business."


Cons of BYOD


1. IT security strains


If you were feeling pretty good about BYOD, not everyone necessarily agrees with you. At the Gartner® Symposium/ITxpo®, Gartner listed BYOD as one of the top 10 strategic technology trends for 2014, and estimated that BYOD will double or even triple the size of the mobile workforce - and place a huge strain on IT and finance organizations.


Gartner describes BYOD as “a disruptive phenomenon where employees bring non-company IT into the organization and demand to be connected to everything – without proper accountability or oversight.” Gartner goes on to warn about BYOD causing violations of all kinds of enterprise rules and regulations, and leading to detrimental impacts on network availability and loss of data. However, with theproper governance policies in place, this type of evolution can be handled gracefully. The transformation is inevitable (it’s already well underway), so managing this process is not as dire as the analysts predict. Going mobile with BYOD is not difficult, it’s just complicated, and we do complicated things all day, every day.


2. Indirect costs and threats


According to FireEye, the average enterprise organization is attacked by malware once every three minutes, with each attack costing $3,000 per day or more to recover. Yikes. Opening up the corporate network to rogue BYOD devices increases the likelihood of these costly attacks.


There are security tools and policies that can be enabled on a personal device that allow it to play nicely in a corporate environment and minimize risk, but with BYOD, that risk still will exist. The risk, however, can be controlled, and the associated competitive risk of not mobilizing is far greater.


3. Equipment expenses: Employee costs


Cisco says that 90 percent of employers have some kind of BYOD policy, but the reality is that most of them are not very sophisticated. For example, if your employer doesn’t have some formal process for reimbursement or a way to track the depreciation of personal devices, then the employee bears the brunt of the cost of a BYOD initiative. (Of course, for the employer, this comes out as a Pro.)


Can You COPE With BYOD?


In the wake of the known security perils associated with BYOD, and the obvious desire for employees to personalize their devices, some buzz has arisen around the concept of COPE (corporate-owned, personally-enabled). The idea is to allow the personalization and productivity of BYOD, but with reduced risk.


COPE allows corporate policy makers and IT leaders more control over which devices are supported and what controls are in place on the device, while still accommodating employees who want to personalize their device and content. Just as they could on their own device, employees can send personal emails, access social media, and download photos, but application controls can prevent corporate information from escaping established perimeters. In addition, the IT department controls the device and can remotely wipe the device if the employee loses it or leaves the company.


A Fond Memory of IT vs. Creative


I remember a day years ago when a web designer in our creative group brought his own Mac G4 to the office and managed to elicit a derisive snort from IT. “You don’t honestly think we’re going to support a Mac, do you?” The IT guys didn’t want (or know how) to support a device that wasn’t a PC.


Of course, looking back, I wonder if part of the problem might have been cultural; the IT guys didn’t care for those rogue, black-clad creative folk, slumping in their chairs and listening to bass-thudding techno. They scoffed at the creative types who clicked away their days with design software, sitting at darkened workstations and relishing the perpetual sport of disconnecting the fluorescent ceilingtubes as soon as the confused maintenance guys popped them back into place. Good times.


These days, even in an enterprise environment, it’s probably more unusual for a creative team not to work on a Mac.


Is BYOD Good News or Bad News?


What do you think? What’s been your experience? And where do you think this is headed? Chime in.


Like visual data? Here's the matching infographic. For more information on BYOD and its role in the New IT, check out our eBook.

Editor's note: CIO magazine covered BMC and our infographic, noting that "BYOD users work longer and earlier."

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AXELOS, the owner of the Best Management Practice portfolio, recently published the book I wrote “Passing Your ITIL Managing Across the Lifecycle Exam,” which provides guidance to students preparing to take the ITIL® Managing Across the Lifecycle, or MALC, qualification exam. Anyone in the industry who wants to become ITIL® Expert-certified must take this exam, but this book is not just for people who want to become certified—it’s also a good resource for people and organizations who just want a better understanding of IT service management (ITSM). This book does not replace the core ITIL publications or the value-added ITIL training, but it does enhance those resources.


The book chapters follow the MALC syllabus and include a sample exam with answer rationale to help students succeed with the certification exam. The chapters in the book are:


  • Introduction
  • Managing across the lifecycle
  • Key concepts of the service lifecycle
  • Communication and stakeholder management
  • Integrating service management process across the lifecycle
  • Managing service across the service lifecycle
  • Governance and organization
  • Measurement
  • Implementing and improving service management capability
  • Applying knowledge to exam
  • Sample case study, exam, answers, and rationale


Many organizations today are using ITIL as a tool to improve their practice of service management and to manage their IT services. Understanding and applying the material presented in this book will help achieve those goals. The techniques in the book should be applied holistically to support solution adoption roadmaps for business service improvements. The ITIL lifecycle itself is structured dynamically to help organizations with high-performing value realization. Take what you need from this book and apply it to your service improvement program to help solve your service delivery and support challenges. Apply MALC certification skills to real business IT service challenges.


Generic roadmap

Visit for more ITIL resources i.e. technology, services, booklets, videos, podcast, blogs, etc. Follow me on twitter @anthonyorratbmc


Last, but not least, I would like to give thanks to The Stationary Office (TSO) for selecting me to write this publication, and special thanks to my mentor Maggie Kneller and all the reviewers of the book before it was published.

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How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one but it has to want to change. So runs the old joke, but there is at the heart of this gag a serious point: want trumps need every time.


As IT organizations face down the challenges of a rapidly digitizing business (and their newly expanded role), it’s clear that the implications are significant and far reaching. Change is needed in terms of how teams organize themselves, the technology they employ, right through to how they how they think and and act.

However, studies indicate that many IT transformation initiatives will fail to deliver on their full potential thanks to cultural issues and other human factors. This is often because most stakeholders don’t understand why the project is happening or how it will be accomplished.

This can be avoided if all parties agree upfront that:

  • The exercise is necessary and will benefit all concerned
  • The project can actually be completed

Simple eh? Hmm…

The chances of an effective and successful delivery increase substantially if you can build on a foundation of broad-based readiness for change. Some of this foundation will be infrastructural and procedural (the easy bits), but the largest part will be cultural and psychological (the not so easy bits).

Want Versus Need

While it’s crucial that all stakeholders believe in the mandate for change, they are more likely to be invested if they want it to happen, hence the unintended profundity of our opening joke.

This is in contrast to feeling that the change needs to happen or ought to happen. Case in point: extensive research done by organizational change experts, John P. Meyer and Lynne Herscovitch (you can find a not too stuffy summary here)

My understanding* is that Meyer and Herscovitch found that when group want a project to succeed, the following factors improve: collaboration, problem solving and teamwork. Further, the number of people actively championing the undertaking, without prompting or coercion, increases dramatically.

(*so you'll definitely want to read it yourself.)

Cultivating a Collective Want

Understandably, the largest part of your organization will not be at the ‘wanting’ stage. Most will be on a spectrum ranging from outright denial through to a strong sense of the need to change, but very few will be actively advocating and championing new ways of working. So - what can you do to engage them?

Idea 1: The practitioner/manager survey

Ask the team to honestly (and anonymously) identify the realities of their working situation. This tends to work better than hosting group or workshop sessions, where participants may not feel comfortable sharing their true feelings and pragmatic analyses.

The following is an example of a simple and effective survey you could use, in this case the focus is on ITSM team, but the principle would be identical for all other groups.

  • How effective are our IT support processes in light of new technologies such as mobile and cloud?
  • Where do we waste the most time in responding to requests?
  • How effective are our processes and supporting software solution?
  • How well do we share information within and between teams?
  • How would you rate the quality of service you are able to provide to our business users?
  • Do we measure and track the right things?
  • How useful is our knowledge base?



Idea 2: Design your outcomes (and KPIs) together.

Invite all team members to define a shared view of success, and you may be surprised to find that even the most hardened skeptics will temper their objections. Their participation is vital to reinforcing the vision and its credibility.

I recommend that you include team members in designing and constructing your goals and KPIs. You’ll discover that this can quickly unify the team and provide a measureable uplift in commitment to the project.

As you work with the team, you may want to consider some questions that people typically weigh when evaluating the merits of organizational change:

  • Will the change resolve organizational shortcomings and, by extension, make my life better?
  • Does the change further the values and ethics of our team?
  • Is there urgency? Is there a sense that something needs to happen sooner rather than later?
  • Is their clear and consistent support of my leadership for change?
  • Is their support from my peers for change? By developing a shared vision for success, you’re likely already addressing the critical decision factors above.


Can We Build It? Yes, We Can!

We’ve all heard the story about the little engine that could. Believing that 
something is possible is just as important as wanting it to happen.

Organizational change experts attribute this to self-efficacy, or one’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in specific situations. This concept directly impacts your ability to build a foundation for successful outcomes. Those who genuinely want change have a much higher sense of their self-efficacy.

If you’re interested in learning more about the significance of believing, try a Google Scholar search on ‘self-efficacy’ or ‘group efficacy’. Google Scholar is better than regular Google in this case, especially if you want to avoid the usual snake oil personal change gurus.

So, how do you convince your team that successful change is possible? You’ll need to reassure them that:

  • A comprehensive, thoughtful plan exists
  • The people involved are capable of successfully planning and implementing the project
  • Sufficient resources and contingencies exist to see the job through to the end
  • There is a sound strategy for communicating and measuring progress
  • Any broader organizational barriers to change can be removed or at least bypassed

The best way to ensure your plan is widely understood and validated is to include the broader team in its construction. This encourages ongoing peer-to-peer collaboration, reinforces support for the plan and helps foster confidence in the project management and methodology.

In my experience, the organizations that built small, yet focused and inclusive, teams were most successful. For example, the following members could comprise a strong core team:

  • Project management professional (some organizations prefer an individual with no ITSM experience)
  • Project sponsor and owner from the IT leadership team
  • Service delivery management representative (if applicable)
  • Business sponsor/s from a supportive and engaged function
  • Two practitioners from each IT process/function (depending on scale)

As you and your core team make progress in formulating a plan, you’ll want communicate your status to a broader group of interested stakeholders at regular intervals. That’s where a strong communications plan comes into play, but more of that in a later blog...


Is your organization: wanting, needing, oughting or denying?

So as you think about your IT organization and it’s readiness to change in response to the new demands of digital business, where are you on the spectrum of cultural readiness? I’d love to hear your views on cultivating readiness in teams and organizations.

You can comment below, or chat on twitter with me as @messagemonger