What Does BYOD Mean for the Future of the Workplace?


While reading an email from the CTO recently regarding our BYOD program, I found myself contemplating the future of the workplace.

If you work at HQ or a major campus, the future probably looks a lot like the present.  However, the majority of the workforce is dispersed among branches and small offices.  What will that look like in the coming years?

Today, many work from home full- or part-time, offices have touch-down spaces for mobile workers and (increasingly) IT departments are shedding the cost of devices by enabling BYOD.

Related article:
The Office isn’t Dead; Just Evolving

So, where will cost-cutting, simplification and the mobile revolution lead us next?

If the consumer world is our guide, then get ready for the emergence of the corporate hot spot.

It makes perfect sense.  You and your device are already being authenticated and selectively connected to your slice of the corporate Intranet via BYOD policy, all of the apps are abandoning ship for the cloud and the only wires left in the office are the power cords on the coffee maker and toaster oven you’re hiding under your desk.

Add to these corporate trends the ever increasing speed and quality of public Internet access, and you have the foundation for a real revolution in corporate culture.

Of course, there will always be those that resist change, and the first objection you’ll likely hear will be around security.  How will we keep our sensitive information away from would be hackers?  How will we keep out all those viruses and bots?  Can you imagine our workers connecting directly to the Internet?!?!?

Early in my career, I worked with a segment of the Federal government that operated on the assumption that the only real security was “air gap” security.  In other words, if it was connected…it was vulnerable.

It turns out, that’s a pretty accurate premise.

As a result, corporate IT spends a significant amount of time and money securing their remote locations.  MPLS VPN connections, local FWs, Employee/Guest SSIDs and other setups are employed to create a walled garden in which remote employees can work away without a care.

We need only recall the story of the Trojan War to find the flaw in that plan, though.

While the modern-day version has no wooden horses, it has a wide array of shiny objects that are rapidly finding their way onto corporate networks.

Even if you don’t support BYOD yet, you still likely have employees taking their corporate devices down to Starbucks for a non-fat, no-whip hazelnut macchiato and some email during one of those marathon conference calls.

You’re generally comfortable with these concepts because you have device profiles, user profiles and a plethora of other mechanisms to ensure that even if you let the wooden horse inside the walls, the Greek soldiers stay locked inside.

So, if mobility of our workers is becoming the norm, and they’re going to be working from home, the hotel and that Starbucks, then why continue managing those workers across 2 paradigms?

Why not extend that norm to be, well, the norm?

Define your policies and security around the assumption that workers will be accessing your systems remotely, and focus on securing your DCs and large campuses.

A solid Internet connection, some cloud managed APs and a well maintained captive portal will give your branch workers everything they need with less stress on IT and a healthy monthly savings.  Maybe you can even use the extra to fund decent office coffee and keep those employees off that hot spot down the street.

I know it sounds farfetched, but to quote Dr. Sheldon Cooper, “I am not crazy, my mother had me tested.”

The world is changing fast.  You can either lead that change and shape the outcome, or try to ignore it and find yourself being dragged along later.

The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

Related Articles:

Four Reasons to Focus on Mobility (and Three Ways to Get Started)

Mobility is a no-brainer in today’s smart, digital world … or is it? As recently as 2013, only 22% of leaders had made a strong business case for bring your own device (BYOD). We’ve made some inroads since (as of last year, 59% allowed employees to use personal devices for work), but still have a ways to go.

Mobility is an absolute must. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are four proven benefits:

  1. You’ll make a lot more money
    Research from the IES and The UK Institute for Work Studies found that increasing engagement investments by just 10% can increase profits by up to $2,400 per employee, per year. Consider a large enterprise with 500 employees—investments in mobility could lead to as much as $1.2 million in additional revenue for the company per year.
  2. You’ll drive employee wellness/satisfaction
    One survey shows that 97% of companies agree that employee well-being positively influences employee engagement. And wouldn’t you know, mobility helps ease areas of wellness with the greatest impact on engagement: work/personal stress, physical health, personal relationships and work productivity. Allow more flexibility with mobile team collaboration and you’ll see major improvements.
  3. You’ll get better results, period
    Mobility improves engagement, and engaged teams drive outstanding results. In fact, research shows that companies with better engaged teams outperform others by over 200%. Mobility also now seems to be at the heart of corporate culture (this Forbes article excellently argues why), and 95% of executives believe culture is important in driving business outcomes.
  4. You’ll narrow your talent gap
    You need the right people with the right skills to differentiate and compete. An average 34% of global organizations have difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent, with this number significantly higher in regions like Asia-Pacific (45%), India (67%) and Brazil (42%). The right employees can be seamlessly on-boarded—regardless of location—with the ability to engage anytime, anywhere via advanced mobility.

Get Started

Ready to improve mobile team collaboration? Consider these ways to take charge:

  • Get with the softphone revolution. Softphones are now widely deployed in the enterprise and advanced versions go well beyond the phone to provide calendar integration, instant messaging, contacts and call logs, as well as one touch access to meetings and collaboration capabilities.
  • Embed real-time communications (i.e., voice, video, chat) directly into the applications employees use each day to work. Eliminate the need for them to hop in and out of multiple disparate apps.
  • Flexibly integrate applications using an open communications platform. These apps can be ready-made from a trusted provider or existing within the Avaya Snapp Store. Even better, challenge employees to build custom apps that can further improve team collaboration.
  • Invest in a desk phone solution that fuses mobile simplicity with advanced enterprise software tools. Personalize user experience and eliminate the need for employees to use multiple mobile devices to engage.

Avaya can help you successfully take these next steps, as well as create an effective mobile strategy for your business. Read the IDC Technology Spotlight and get started today.

Avaya Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

Avaya is honored to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure worldwide. Avaya has been the only vendor having the distinction of being named a Leader for 16 consecutive years. Each year the research organization creates a market view of key players for business users, reflecting business goals, needs, and priorities.

Contact centers have gone beyond phone calls with customers now expecting to communicate on their terms via text, IM, email, chat or video. For the past 16 years Avaya has created seamless and highly personalized experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

According to Deloitte, 85% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Todays companies must remain relevant by creating a single interface to connect customers with the correct resource each time, supporting their preferences. Supervisors and managers need real-time performance information to adapt immediately to situations to ensure optimized customer experience.

Avaya has focused its efforts on creating next-generation contact center solutions, creating communication strategies enabling a continuous transition between channels during customer interactions.

Please visit Gartner’s page to read the full report and see how Avaya’s Contact Center infrastructure continues to deliver best-of-breed Contact Center applications. We look forward to continuing innovation and leading business communications for the digital age.


Seeing into the Office of the Future

Dubai is heavily focused on delivering on its Smart City goals, with the goal of being among the smartest—and happiest—cities in the world. The drive toward smart cities is part of a wider shift, with countries around the globe seeing a migration from rural areas to urban. With more than half the world’s population now living in cities, organizations in the Middle East are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how they allocate resources and manage their workforce.

For a city like Dubai, that can be challenging. Finding the right real-estate location for office space, managing energy usage and providing physical workspaces for employees working different shifts in a modern, 24X7 city creates its fair share of headaches. Enterprises also have to cope with an increasing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, with smartphone and device penetration especially high in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.

We have reached an inflection point where the number of devices connected and generating data is accelerating at an exponential level. Our work environments are beginning to blur, as workspaces are no longer physical but virtual. Organizations need to deliver a consistent work experience whether in an office or on the road, or at home. The key driver is to intuitively connect not only communications devices, but interact with the ambient technologies that surround us, like lighting, BMS and signage.

At Avaya, we believe that the Smart Enterprise is one of the key building blocks for smart cities—and one of the foundations of true Smart Enterprise development will be what we term the Office of the Future. This is about more than just technology; the Office of the Future involves automating work processes within the enterprise to deliver a more intuitive employee experience. As with any “smart” solution, the Office of the Future is only smart if it resolves the challenges it aims to address.

So what do we mean by Office of the Future? Imagine walking into a new office you’ve never visited before and your work station is ready before you sit down, configured to your preferences, right down to the air conditioning settings and digital signage displayed with your identity. When a client arrives to meet you at the office, they can be sent to a meeting room automatically, and you can talk to them on their mobile as you walk to greet them.

With Avaya solutions, the act of an employee booking a workspace would kick start a workflow that immediately sets up that space with all communication devices enabled and connected securely, while interacting with the building management system to ensure the environment was set to the employee’s requirements, everything from lighting to temperature to digital signage. The employee could be identified by their phone or a card ID. When they leave, the workspace can be reset for the next employee that reserves it.

Such Smart workspaces will help enterprises manage their resources more effectively, better leverage their real estate investments, and improve employee well-being and productivity. Here in Dubai, the Office of the Future starts now.