Most agencies have been slow to get on board with Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, programs, in large part because of the associated data security and legal concerns. But that slow pace may be a good thing, as one expert suggests that BYOD is more than likely just a passing trend.
Enter COPE – Corporately Owned, Personally Enabled – where an agency buys and offers a variety of resources and devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets to be used and managed by employees. Bob Janssen, founder and chief technical officer of RES Software, believes COPE will be the new acronym for 2014, and that the strategy, as opposed to BYOD, will allow agencies and organizations to balance employee satisfaction with the need for greater security and management.
“BYOD was often a cover-up for something else going on with end users in that they don’t get the right flexibility from their IT department,” Janssen said. “The IT organization can win points through BYO and increase end user satisfaction a little bit. But in the end, it won’t be satisfactory, as bring your own often means you’re on your own.”
A report released in May by research firm Gartner predicted that 38 percent of organizations by 2016 will have stopped providing mobile devices to employees, instead favoring a BYOD strategy where employees choose and use their own devices in the workplace. By 2017, half of employees will be using their own devices for work, the analysis found.
Embracing mobility by incorporating tablets and smartphones into agency cultures also has been linked to higher scores in employee job satisfaction and innovation across government.
But with the security and compliance burdens on federal agencies, Janssen believes more federal leaders will scrap BYOD in favor of a COPE strategy that will supply employees with devices that can be used personally and professionally, with the ability to switch between the two contexts.
Janssen suggests a step-by-step approach to implementing COPE, starting with federal IT shops automating their processes to allow for faster turnaround times. Next, they can build an IT store that, with the help of human resources, automates the process of onboarding and offboarding employees, followed by augmenting desktops with apps that employees can request, Janssen said.
“If you do step-by-step in a velocity an organization can keep up with, you can start introducing small improvements and small changes which will in the end create a new user experience for the organization,” Janssen said. “IT doesn’t like a big bang approach, so what if you had a new framework that allowed you to go step-by-step toward this new way of working?”