BYOD – Lessons Companies Can Learn from Schools

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In an effort to create a 21st century learning environment, my sons’ school has issued a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Students and staff are able to access the school’s wireless network with their personal devices (laptops, tablets, netbooks, smart phones, etc.) throughout the day. This strategy increases equitable access to online resources and can transform students to become information producers vs. information consumers. Kudos!

Millennials joining corporate America are taken aback when they receive a clunky laptop and a company stripped smart phone. They’re accustomed to sleek designs and are baffled by the outdated systems and hyper concern over security. They often have better technology at home and have never been without their personal devices. Simply put, they see it as a step backwards. Companies are at risk for losing their most talented employees if they are not willing to give them better technology or allow them to use their own devices.

Approximately 60% of today’s workforce can access company data on their own devices, but only 40% of businesses have implemented policies and documented processes for those devices. It’s critical that employers clearly spell out the rules for BYOD and invest in technology (mobile apps, security, management and support) to ensure a successful solution.

There are several lessons from BYOD implementation in schools that can be applied to enhance the learning and collaboration on a company level.

1. BYOD is a cost effective way to increase technology. Current economic conditions necessitate reduced expenditures. Students/employees may be willing to pay for the latest device out of their own pockets, reducing budget pressure.

2. BYOD increases collaboration. Students/employees will share their devices, participate in online discussions and collaborate on projects. This lays the groundwork for knowledge sharing and teamwork.

3. BYOD increases self-directed learning. Having instant access to research a topic enhances productivity and promotes a “let’s figure it out” mentality.

Bottom line, BYOD is a privilege, not a right. Forward thinking companies are seeing BYOD as a way to reduce cost, improve technology and enhance collaboration and learning.

How is your enterprise team proactively managing BYOD policies to avoid security and workflow issues? Are the rules clear to all employees? I look forward to your comments.

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