Is BYOD Beneficial for your Business Startup?
Despite a strained economic and geopolitical climate, UK-based SMEs continue to showcase almost indefatigable confidence. In fact, 65% of small and medium-sized firms in Britain predict growth of up to 40% during the next two years, against the uncertain backdrop of Brexit and a reported shortfall in available funding.
Much of this has to do with the technologies and opportunities now available to SMEs, many of which have the potential to minimise start-up and operational costs while also optimising growth potential.
Take the renowned concept of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), for example, through which entrepreneurs allow their employees to utilise their personal devices to complete core business tasks. But what are the benefits of this practice, and is it a viable option for your SME?
The Benefits of BYOD, and why They're Relevant to SMEs
One of the most compelling arguments for BYOD revolves around its natural advantages, which can be leveraged by SMEs to achieve a quicker and more cost-effective route to market.
In simple terms, deploying the principles of BYOD negates the need to invest in costly hardware such as smartphones, personal computers or PDAs, while it also transfers the cost of maintaining these devices directly to users. This taps into the increasingly prominent role that technology plans in the everyday lives of modern consumers and employees, with more than six million Brits now owning both a smartphone and a tablet in the modern age.
It's also possible to buy your phones smart for business use and identify ways in which users can make savings of their own, primarily by pairing a SIM-only contract with a carefully selected data plan to drive more cost-effective usage.
As a result, startups and burgeoning SMEs can invest more capital into strategic activities such as sales, marketing and operations, while contributing to a more efficient and agile business model.
At the same time, they can empower their staff members, studies have also found that in excess of 70% of firms believe that BYOD improves employee productivity and subsequent customer response times. This has much to do with the fact that your teams have the flexibility to use devices outside of traditional work hours and in a way that best suits their preferred modes of operation, creating a sense of empowerment that can drive businesses forward.
Implementing a BYOD Policy – The Key Considerations
While the benefits of implementing a BYOD policy are easy to see, the success of this depends on effective implementation and your ability to consider aspects such as data protection, wireless network security and financial implications. These include:
- Access Rights and Data Security: The EU is set to unveil a revised data protection regulation later this month, in the form of the GDPR. UK firms will need to adhere for the foreseeable future, and from the perspective of BYOD it's important that firms can guarantee relevant network accessibility while also protecting sensitive information. To achieve this, you'll need to empower IT as an enabler, ensuring that data is stored securely while also accessible across a safeguarded, wireless network.
- User Accountability: One of the risks associated with BYOD is that users themselves bear a heavy responsibility when it comes to the secure handling and transfer of data. So, while you must never lose sight of your own responsibility for the security of your businesses network and data (particularly as your firm grows and more devices are brought into the workplace) it's imperative that you also create a culture of individual accountability among your employees.
- Financial Management: As more devices are integrated into your businesses network, you're likely to encounter a higher proportion of support issues. This can incur additional costs, so you'll need to adopt a proactive approach to managing and negating these. More specifically, you should implement a strict and clear policy for employees who are reporting issues, as you look to optimise efficiency and correct issues as quickly as possible.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to employ BYOD into your SME is a personal one. With the right policy, however, there's no doubt that this can deliver huge benefits for your business in terms of cost, productivity and bottom line profitability.