People 'n' Issues

The big Why of BYOD

March 3rd, 2016
In order for a business to develop an effective BYOD policy, DONALD FARMER, VP of Innovation and Design at Qlik believes company owners need to first understand why and when employees switch between devices and what makes them choose certain devices for certain tasks.
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Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) responsive, and multi-device are just some words that today are part of our lives. Multi-device strategies are devised and policies are prepared for BYOD. The use of different devices has led to a whole new way of working. Gartner predicts that by 2018 more than half of users will be using a tablet or smartphone for all online activities rather than the traditional laptop or desktop. But to what extent do we actually stand still by the role of different devices? Why and when do business users actually switch between tablet, smartphone or computer? And what moves them to choose certain devices in certain activities?

If we can answer these questions, a multi-device or BYOD policy is really effective. Time to get some new insights above water, so that management can better respond to the needs of the business.

Reasons for using different devices

Where once on the desk of the average employee stood a desk phone and a desktop, there is now a laptop, a smartphone, perhaps a tablet and in some cases even an e-reader. During the day there is plenty of use of these devices. Why? A recent global survey of Qlik shows that there are three main reasons:

Employees first believe they can thus increase their productivity. An argument, which managers actually need to sound as music to the ears. Indeed, the increasing productivity in the workplace is not something you want to fight as an organisation, but rather to stimulate. Obviously, it is with the use of multiple devices, important to take account of Shadow IT, but for now we leave that out of consideration. In second place, is keeping it up to date. Think about sending out an email via the laptop at the end of the workday and on the way home via the smartphone to see if there has been a reaction. This motivation is also linked to number three: respond quickly to circumstances. Imagine if the employee is in a meeting and he gets an important phone call or an e-mail via the tablet inside. With the use of multiple devices the employee can take action immediately. The main reason to use multiple devices is that each one is aimed at orienting the work as effectively as possible and to improve where necessary.

Multiple devices for one activity

Now we understand the question about why people switch between devices and what devices still remains, but the answer is not clear. Typically, for example, activities that are started on the laptop are also finished on the laptop. However, when employees begin operations on their smartphone, these are usually rounded to the laptop. Think to send emails, view reports and write lyrics. The tablet is the least popular to start and complete tasks. Only watching a video begins and ends on the tablet. When it comes to chatting and calendar management, the employee switches over to the smartphone. In all other cases, the laptop is switched on.

The main triggers for users to switch between devices are activities such as navigating to websites, finding specific information and sending links by email. The smartphone in all cases appears to be the most popular device to switch to.

Mobile-first

Now we know that employees look for opportunities to work effectively and switch over their functions between different devices, it is important that this way of working is well facilitated by the management. A precondition for this is the use of the right tools – tooling that is Mobile-First developed. These solutions primarily keep the mobile user in mind in the development and design. Thus, for Mobile-First developed technology the essence of information is directly visible and is also matched to the screen that you are using at the time. This way users can easily get the right information to themselves and thus will effectively work.

Still, mobile-first tooling is still not developed by all software vendors. So it is extra important that the management in the tool selection process pay attention as to whether it meets the Mobile-First conditions. But now is also the time to take another critical look at existing tooling. Because to truly meet the needs of the business, the information needs to be available anytime, anywhere via any device. Mobile first is not the only solution, but can have a considerably large contribution. Ultimately, the goal about the intention to work productively is to turn it into reality. It is the only way to take action and to work towards the mapped needs of the business. A good intention for 2016?

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