The Pros and Cons of BYOD

A look at the costs and benefits of one of today's most important trends.


About three years ago, my third book, The New Small, was published. Color me biased, but I tend to think that the book holds up pretty well on a number of levels. Open-source software, mobility, SaaS, and cloud computing have if anything only increased in popularity.

Still, three years is nothing short of an eternity in technology. I often think about how technology has changed since my books have been published. For one, the boundary separating consumer and IT technologies has continued to blur.

But that’s hardly the only change to have taken place since 2010. In that book, there’s nary a mention of the term BYOD. I’d like to think that that omission doesn’t stem from my missing what was at the time an important new trend. But how can I be sure?

Enter Google Trends to the rescue. As I suspected, in 2010, BYOD was a blip on the radar. If I were to write The New Small today, BYOD would be a major theme.

Technology’s Double-Edged Sword

Throughout history, changes in technology have always inhered tremendous benefits in the workplace. For instance, with respect to BYOD, employees need not learn how to use new devices and applications. In theory, they are happier and more productive. Organizations save on purchasing new software and hardware and training employees on how to use them.

Technology is never an unalloyed good.

Still, technology is never an unalloyed good. Today, many if not most organizations continue to struggle managing virtual employees and BYOD. Marissa Mayer isn’t alone. Distributed companies are still the exception that proves the rule.

It’s fair to say that the current environment has created significant challenges for untold numbers of end users, IT departments, and organizations in general. (To learn more about addressing these challenges, register for a VMware webinar on the topic here.) Employees with their own devices can be pretty demanding and impatient, not to mention the fact that they can pose massive security and compliance risks.

Simon Says

Succeeding in a BYOD environment certainly isn’t easy, but organizations have no choice. BYOD is here to stay. Deal with it.

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While the words and opinions in this post are my own, VMware has compensated me to write it.

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