Tag Archives: Asia Pacific

The Social CIO #Press #Media

Enterprise technology decision makers are increasingly leveraging social network and technologies to foster growth in their organisations.

Social technologies are playing a major role in fostering growth among organisations and enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social networks in numerous innovative ways. There are some key verticals like BFSI, telecom, retail and hospitality which is using social technologies to reach out to their customers. Interacting with the customers on a regular basis allows enterprises to know their requirements and this helps in coming up with offers or products that are liked by the customers.

According to Atul Nigam, CIO, Micromax India, “Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkden allows us to reach our customers and get to know what are their requirements. CIOs can play a major role in providing apt business analytics to identify a specific trend and that helps in coming up with offers/promotions which customers can relate to. Our company has seen tremendous growth in the last five to six years and for us to sustain this growth rate, we need to know our customers better and social technologies plays an integral role in identifying this.”

Enterprise technology decision makers are leveraging social technologies to provide analytical insights about consumers. This in turn is helping enterprises to be more customer-friendly and focussed in their approach.

According to Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO, Greyhound Research, IT organizations are struggling to deal with the invasion of multiple consumer-driven social technologies inside corporate firewalls. Employees continue to use these tools — with or without IT’s knowledge and approval — to help them improve their performance and do their work more efficiently. Employee adoption is catalysing many companies in Asia Pacific to proactively use (or at least plan to use) social tools as part of their IT setup, giving users the choice to adopt new tools to improve productivity and hence improve employee satisfaction.

CIOs across verticals agree that social analytics can play a key role in enhancing customer experience.

According to KK Chaudhary, CIO, Lanco Infratech, “I vouch for social analytics and I have witnessed many of my peers helping out their marketing team in getting to know different aspects of customer behaviour. Although, we are into power and do not need to interact with our customers via social medium, but I feel there are many verticals where one needs to interact directly to the customers and social technologies helps a lot of achieving this feat. At Lanco, we use internal social tool which helps in connecting with the employees and also makes them updated with the new developments in the organisation.”

Source: CIO & Leader

Android may rejuvenate Nokia #Press #Media

While analysts are not calling the Nokia X Series smartphones a game changer, they are upbeat about Microsoft’s strategy to tap into the sub-Rs.10,000 phone segment.

In the age of smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system, Microsoft seems to have half acknowledged that if it has to succeed in phones, it makes sense to ride on Google’s open technology.

The company launched the Nokia X smartphones, which for the first time are using Android’s open-source software, and are priced in direct competition with Samsung, Sony and Indian phonemakers such as Lava, Karbonn and Micromax.

The Android open source software, which has minimal licensing requirements, is used on a wide array of mobile devices with different form factors. The X Series announcement, which was first made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month, had received mixed responses from analysts.

Tony Cripps of Ovum seems to have concerns around how the X-range of smartphones will tilt the balance in favour of Microsoft. However, he believes that Nokia’s strength in emerging markets will help the company get back its lost glory and, more importantly, further the cause of adoption of Windows phones in India.

However, others believe that this is a masterstroke from Microsoft. “There are no Windows Phones at the Rs. 8,500 range and in emerging markets if you do not have a sub-Rs.10,000 phone, you will be off the radar,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst with Greyhound Research.

Affordability is key

Multinational and Indian companies have used the Android route to build smartphones in a market were the majority of users seem to veer towards affordable phones.

Talking to Business Line, Nokia India Sales Director Raghuvesh Sarup said the need for an affordable smartphone that can meet user needs, such as quality apps, free music streaming and access to Nokia Maps, is an opportunity for Nokia, which enjoys good brand equity in India.

Narrowing price gaps

“Growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors, which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones,” says Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.

The hunger for smartphones in India is growing and this is reflected in the numbers. According to International Data Corporation, in 2013 the smartphone market surpassed 44 million units, up from 16.2 million in 2012, making it one of the fastest growing markets globally.

Source: Hindu BusinessLine

The benefits of communication #Media #Press #afaqs

If you thought just having a well documented corporate benefit strategy was enough to attract and retain talent, you might be in for a surprise. A majority of the respondents to the 2013 Asia Pacific Benefit Trends Survey said value perception does not increase noticeably as benefits spend increases. In other words, improving employee perception of the value of the benefits should be a key objective for the organisation.

Benefit programmes typically account for one-third of employee compensation costs and are considered an important talent management strategy to differentiate from the competition. It is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘must-have’, agree most employers. However, the dilemma is, how should a company increase the perceived value of benefits offered while also managing costs?

Having a benefits strategy that is linked to the business strategy can serve as a significant competitive advantage for employers, says Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder & CEO, Greyhound Knowledge Group. “The issue is more than just communication. HR needs to make a business case and convince the CEO and CFO why the company needs an inclusive rewards programme. The HR department should make, an employee engagement index, and measure it quarter-on-quarter against the amount invested. It should be able to quantify how much employee engagement has increased at the end of four quarters against the given Rs X crore of investment,” he says.

An employee benefit programme is no longer just a strategy to attract and retain talent – it has become an engagement tool. According to Gogia, employees should be asked what they want in their benefit programme. Most companies use a one-size-fits-all approach to their group employee benefits communication strategy. However, a tailored approach with the message designed for specific employee segments is more effective, he says. Not just employee demographics, but also the channel in which that message is communicated is important.

“There are 3Cs to an employee benefit communication programme – it should be concise, consistent and have cadence. HR must create a year-round benefits communication plan, use simple and clear language, explain the business realities of any changes and goals and treat employees as business partners,” says Gogia.

However, employees value different benefits according to their personal preferences. A flexible benefits programme, which allows employees to choose benefits that suit their current situation, is becoming a popular strategy, finds the Towers Watson study. Although traditional benefits such as annual leave, medical and life insurance remain the most prevalent, new lifestyle-related benefits, such as a gym membership, flexible working hours, buy or sell annual leave are also on the rise. The study says employers must look at total health management approach rather than just providing benefits that treat illnesses.

For any benefit plan to be effective, it has to be communicated well. Companies should broaden the use of the internet to provide resources and information. Most companies use the internet to offer basic plan and coverage information. However, some innovative companies have successfully used the internet to promote wellness, preventative care and stress reduction. Smart companies, like IBM and Microsoft have enabled all employees to blog and have incorporated those blogs on their websites.

That said, communication alone is not going to make much of a difference. Companies must help employees make the best benefits choices by educating them so that they can avoid confusion and needless worry about their benefits decisions.

In sum, by clearly aligning the vision of employee benefit programmes with the employer’s business goals, HR will function as a business partner. Effective benefit communications will ensure that both employers and employees get the most from the investment in benefits.

Source: afaqs

How messaging apps are beefing up their user base #Media #Press #BusinessToday

Jun Masuda of Line Corp with some of its sticker characters

Jun Masuda of Line Corp with some of its sticker characters
Smileys were always popular, but they never got the cult status that stickers – the new, larger emoticons – have gained. The fad, started by the Line messaging app in Japan, is now big enough to prompt TV shows featuring sticker characters in the country, and local versions of stickers in other countries. But the biggest indication that the stickers from Japan had become a global phenomenon came when Facebook adopted them, first on mobile and then on web chat.

Characters such as Cony, a cartoon rabbit, and his bear friend Brown, are more than conversation fillers when chat junkies are at a loss for words – they are good business. Line Corporation, which owns the Line messaging app, made $27 million in the second quarter of 2013 from these expressive chat icons – about 27 per cent of its $101 million revenue for the period. The app’s revenue grew 66.9 per cent over the first quarter, powered by impressive growth in traditional markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Growth in numbers – crucial to the monetisation of these apps – will depend on growth in new markets, such as India.

Line made a dramatic Indian debut in July, raking up five million active users in three weeks. Global Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Jun Masuda says its success marks a transition from open social networking services to closed ones. “People are tired of social networks,” he says. “You don’t talk to people you don’t know, so why should you contact them on social networks? Line is where you talk to people who are close to you. This format does not tire people.”

The closed model is Line’s USP, and in Japan it is popular among couples. This also explains why people are willing to buy stickers within the app. After all, how many would do that to impress a boss? Line users send 7 billion messages a day, including a billion stickers. They also play games within the app, buying virtual items when stuck at a hurdle. These in-game purchases account for 53 per cent of revenues this quarter. Line plans to launch video calling this fall, besides Line Music and Line Mall, in Japan. It claims a user base of 230 million.

WeChat and its Chinese version,Weixin, claim over 300 million, which, according to the GlobalWebIndex, makes WeChat the fifth most used app in the world, with presence on 27 per cent of all smartphones. This is also why WeChat, owned by Chinese Internet giant Tencent, can afford to spend big on customer acquisition outside its base in China.

WeChat is not forthcoming on revenues, but Tencent’s results for the first half of 2013, announced in mid-August, show that about 76 per cent of its $4.5 billion revenues comes from value-added services. WeChat makes money through apps on the platform as well, as by letting brands create pages to reach out to their customers. In an e-mail interaction from Hong Kong, spokesperson Katie Lee was noncommittal about whether a similar model is possible in India. “The success of WeChat really boils down to social experience and value we bring to users,” she says. “We are working on the business model for international markets.”

Monetising Tricks
Brand pages are proving to be the best way to monetise these apps, especially in countries such as India, where in-app purchases are yet to gather steam. “Companies want to use our huge user base for promotions,” says Masuda.”Stickers from companies can be free for users, but companies will have to pay Line for putting it online.” He cites the examples of Hollywood studios, which create sticker sets to promote movies such as Iron Man 3 and Monster University. In India, Sony was among the first to open an account on Line.

BlackBerry, too, has jumped on to the bandwagon. It is all set to take its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to the Android and iOS operating systems, and is testing its BBM Channels service, which will allow brands and content providers to maintain a page to post messages and video for their audiences. “They can see who is visiting the page and engage with them,” says Annie Mathew, Director, Business Development and Alliances, BlackBerry India. “This also lets them create targeted and location-based advertising.” BBM has 61 million users globally, and traffic exceeds 10 billion messages a day.

The Indian market has its own demands. So while Line rolls out Indian stickers and support for local languages, WeChat’s money is on emoticons of Indian celebrities such as Parineeti Chopra and Varun Dhawan, as well as a tie-ups with Bollywood production houses.

With a Dabangg Salman Khan and a cigarette-flipping Rajinikanth on its sticker list, BhartiSoftBank’s Hike seems to have the home advantage. “We wanted to find a solution for fragmentation, so that people would not have to use multiple apps,” says Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Product and Strategy at BhartiSoftBank (BSB), a joint venture between the Bharti Group and Internet company SoftBank. “That is why we started with a Hike-to-SMS feature, which is a very powerful feature in India. This is now about 30 per cent of the one billion messages we do a month.” Hike users can message even offline contacts. Mittal says this is needed, as 70 per cent of Hike users are based in India, where there is a “tendency to switch off data services often”.

Launch Pad

Though Hike is not yet monetised, Mittal sees it as a large distribution platform on which he can promote the other BSB verticals, such as gaming and coupons. “It is important for a company like ours not to focus on revenue too early. You need to have the right product and business strategy first. Our focus is on getting to 10 million first.”

To achieve this, almost all messaging app companies have tied up with mobile manufacturers to preload their apps on new devices. Mark Ranson, a South Korea-based associate analyst on research firm Ovum’s consumer team, says the possibilities are almost endless once the service has scaled. He says: “They can launch anything, depending on the market. Content services could be very popular. We are also coming to a stage where people are willing to pay even for messaging.”

However, he concedes that in India, scaling up may take longer as far as revenue is concerned. “In Japan, users are willing to pay a lot for digital content. People will get more accustomed in time. But companies such as Line Corp and Tencent are not concerned with monetisation in the short term – they just want to become the largest player.”

The Giants
No discussion of scale can ignore WhatsApp, which has over 300 million users globally and a monthly average user (MAU) base of over 200 million. WhatsApp reportedly has over 20 million users in India, although in an email response to Business Today, business development head Neeraj Arora said only that the “company was seeing tremendous growth in India”. WhatsApp has a unique monetisation model – users pay $0.99 after a year of free use. Until July, the company charged iOS users this amount upfront. “With around 30 per cent of WhatsApp users being on iOS, this meant a monetisation of at least $100 million at any time,” explains Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Group CEO of New Delhi-based Greyhound Research.

The other big player is Facebook, with over 70 million users in India, a large chunk of them on mobile. It has a standalone messaging app, though Country Growth Manager Kevin D’Souza says messaging is deeply integrated and a part of the Facebook experience.

Facebook does not have a specific monetisation strategy for messaging. However, it is investing in ensuring that the message is delivered across devices and networks. “A large number of people is on feature phones, and that is a focus area for us,” says D’Souza.

But with WeChat and Line closing in on MAUs, leaders such as WhatsApp may have to think up new ideas to stay in the game. “WhatsApp is at a pretty cool point in its life cycle,” says Ovum’s Ranson. “But for the best chance to maintain their strong position, they should look at other revenue streams.”

He says there will be consolidation in India, as there was in South Korea, where KakaoTalk emerged as the leader after many others came and went. “Globally, there is going to be some fragmentation,” says Mittal of BSB. “India will have at the most three players in the long run.”

Source: Business Today

How messaging apps are beefing up their user base #Press #Media #BusinessToday

Jun Masuda of Line Corp with some of its sticker characters

Jun Masuda of Line Corp with some of its sticker characters
Smileys were always popular, but they never got the cult status that stickers – the new, larger emoticons – have gained. The fad, started by the Line messaging app in Japan, is now big enough to prompt TV shows featuring sticker characters in the country, and local versions of stickers in other countries. But the biggest indication that the stickers from Japan had become a global phenomenon came when Facebook adopted them, first on mobile and then on web chat.Characters such as Cony, a cartoon rabbit, and his bear friend Brown, are more than conversation fillers when chat junkies are at a loss for words – they are good business. Line Corporation, which owns the Line messaging app, made $27 million in the second quarter of 2013 from these expressive chat icons – about 27 per cent of its $101 million revenue for the period. The app’s revenue grew 66.9 per cent over the first quarter, powered by impressive growth in traditional markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Thailand. Growth in numbers – crucial to the monetisation of these apps – will depend on growth in new markets, such as India.Line made a dramatic Indian debut in July, raking up five million active users in three weeks. Global Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Jun Masuda says its success marks a transition from open social networking services to closed ones. “People are tired of social networks,” he says. “You don’t talk to people you don’t know, so why should you contact them on social networks? Line is where you talk to people who are close to you. This format does not tire people.”

The closed model is Line’s USP, and in Japan it is popular among couples. This also explains why people are willing to buy stickers within the app. After all, how many would do that to impress a boss? Line users send 7 billion messages a day, including a billion stickers. They also play games within the app, buying virtual items when stuck at a hurdle. These in-game purchases account for 53 per cent of revenues this quarter. Line plans to launch video calling this fall, besides Line Music and Line Mall, in Japan. It claims a user base of 230 million.

WeChat and its Chinese version,Weixin, claim over 300 million, which, according to the GlobalWebIndex, makes WeChat the fifth most used app in the world, with presence on 27 per cent of all smartphones. This is also why WeChat, owned by Chinese Internet giant Tencent, can afford to spend big on customer acquisition outside its base in China.

WeChat is not forthcoming on revenues, but Tencent’s results for the first half of 2013, announced in mid-August, show that about 76 per cent of its $4.5 billion revenues comes from value-added services. WeChat makes money through apps on the platform as well, as by letting brands create pages to reach out to their customers. In an e-mail interaction from Hong Kong, spokesperson Katie Lee was noncommittal about whether a similar model is possible in India. “The success of WeChat really boils down to social experience and value we bring to users,” she says. “We are working on the business model for international markets.”

Monetising Tricks
Brand pages are proving to be the best way to monetise these apps, especially in countries such as India, where in-app purchases are yet to gather steam. “Companies want to use our huge user base for promotions,” says Masuda.”Stickers from companies can be free for users, but companies will have to pay Line for putting it online.” He cites the examples of Hollywood studios, which create sticker sets to promote movies such as Iron Man 3 and Monster University. In India, Sony was among the first to open an account on Line.

BlackBerry, too, has jumped on to the bandwagon. It is all set to take its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to the Android and iOS operating systems, and is testing its BBM Channels service, which will allow brands and content providers to maintain a page to post messages and video for their audiences. “They can see who is visiting the page and engage with them,” says Annie Mathew, Director, Business Development and Alliances, BlackBerry India. “This also lets them create targeted and location-based advertising.” BBM has 61 million users globally, and traffic exceeds 10 billion messages a day.

The Indian market has its own demands. So while Line rolls out Indian stickers and support for local languages, WeChat’s money is on emoticons of Indian celebrities such as Parineeti Chopra and Varun Dhawan, as well as a tie-ups with Bollywood production houses.

With a Dabangg Salman Khan and a cigarette-flipping Rajinikanth on its sticker list, BhartiSoftBank’s Hike seems to have the home advantage. “We wanted to find a solution for fragmentation, so that people would not have to use multiple apps,” says Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Product and Strategy at BhartiSoftBank (BSB), a joint venture between the Bharti Group and Internet company SoftBank. “That is why we started with a Hike-to-SMS feature, which is a very powerful feature in India. This is now about 30 per cent of the one billion messages we do a month.” Hike users can message even offline contacts. Mittal says this is needed, as 70 per cent of Hike users are based in India, where there is a “tendency to switch off data services often”.

Launch Pad

Though Hike is not yet monetised, Mittal sees it as a large distribution platform on which he can promote the other BSB verticals, such as gaming and coupons. “It is important for a company like ours not to focus on revenue too early. You need to have the right product and business strategy first. Our focus is on getting to 10 million first.”

To achieve this, almost all messaging app companies have tied up with mobile manufacturers to preload their apps on new devices. Mark Ranson, a South Korea-based associate analyst on research firm Ovum’s consumer team, says the possibilities are almost endless once the service has scaled. He says: “They can launch anything, depending on the market. Content services could be very popular. We are also coming to a stage where people are willing to pay even for messaging.”

However, he concedes that in India, scaling up may take longer as far as revenue is concerned. “In Japan, users are willing to pay a lot for digital content. People will get more accustomed in time. But companies such as Line Corp and Tencent are not concerned with monetisation in the short term – they just want to become the largest player.”

The Giants
No discussion of scale can ignore WhatsApp, which has over 300 million users globally and a monthly average user (MAU) base of over 200 million. WhatsApp reportedly has over 20 million users in India, although in an email response to Business Today, business development head Neeraj Arora said only that the “company was seeing tremendous growth in India”. WhatsApp has a unique monetisation model – users pay $0.99 after a year of free use. Until July, the company charged iOS users this amount upfront. “With around 30 per cent of WhatsApp users being on iOS, this meant a monetisation of at least $100 million at any time,” explains Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Group CEO of New Delhi-based Greyhound Research.

The other big player is Facebook, with over 70 million users in India, a large chunk of them on mobile. It has a standalone messaging app, though Country Growth Manager Kevin D’Souza says messaging is deeply integrated and a part of the Facebook experience.

Facebook does not have a specific monetisation strategy for messaging. However, it is investing in ensuring that the message is delivered across devices and networks. “A large number of people is on feature phones, and that is a focus area for us,” says D’Souza.

But with WeChat and Line closing in on MAUs, leaders such as WhatsApp may have to think up new ideas to stay in the game. “WhatsApp is at a pretty cool point in its life cycle,” says Ovum’s Ranson. “But for the best chance to maintain their strong position, they should look at other revenue streams.”

He says there will be consolidation in India, as there was in South Korea, where KakaoTalk emerged as the leader after many others came and went. “Globally, there is going to be some fragmentation,” says Mittal of BSB. “India will have at the most three players in the long run.”

Source: Business Today

The challenge of mobility and the cost of BYOD fleets #Media #Press #ZDNet

In March 2013, ZDNet reported that the size of the 2013 bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market would be double that of 2012, making BYOD truly mainstream.

Sixty eight percent of respondents in the same research report said that getting buy-in from staff presents no challenge to a BYOD workplace program (no surprise, given how much we all love our own phones and tablets), but of the aspects reported as “a very big challenge”, most responses were for “devising a security policy” and “implementing appropriate mobile device management [MDM] software”.

A more recent study by Greyhound research confirms how many enterprise IT departments are getting on board, and also how many seem ill equipped to do so. Seventy percent of respondents have plans for BYOD, but 30 percent of those have no concrete security or policy plans in place.

All of this means that BYOD is here to stay, but is the enterprise world ready for it?

The challenges of BYOD
Before you even talk about malware or the Apple Store, the first hurdle is making BYOD work financially. You have to buy fewer devices, but one little security incident could be catastrophic. According to CompTIA, the top reason given for BYOD is to increase out-of-office productivity, but research by TEKsystems said the main payback is employee satisfaction, with little monetary effect on customers or IT budgets.

Assuming you jump in, the scariest threat is security. The thought of company data on a device that’s dripping with malware is scary enough, but an employee posting “about to take the bag full of cash profits down to the bank — LOL!” on their mobile Facebook app or losing their device (accounting for almost half of all mobile security incidents) might cripple the business just as thoroughly. The 160,000 phones lost across the US every day, according to the CompTIA report, cost the economy $30 billion per year.

“Data classification is a huge focal point of action,” said Australian National University (ANU) CIO Peter Nikoletatos. In an environment where he says users, particularly students, have always bought their own devices, data access and protection levels undergo strict implementation procedures.

“Users have to be informed about the various mobile and cloud solutions, but, more importantly, how to leverage them in a way that minimises risk to our IP and protects both users’ privacy and the university’s reputation.”

But even legitimate data or usage presents a grey area. Usually, it’s easy to determine what belongs to you and your employer (Angry Birds versus a spreadsheet with company finances), but Nerds On Call founder Andrea Eldridge said not everything on your device is so cut and dried.

“Communicating with clients can lead to muddy waters when they begin to call you directly on your mobile,” she said. Once a client calls you, she thinks your employer effectively has some claim to your phone number — but do they have the right to ask you to give it up if you leave?

To sandbox of not
Mobile device management (MDM) is a set of protocols and policies used by IT departments to minimise risks, but if the figures above are to be believed, it’s not as mature or widespread as it should be.

A popular alternative is giving users a cloud-based work environment that’s locked off from the rest of their system. Still in academia, University of Missouri-Columbia assistant professor Prasad Calyam said MDM forces the IT department to accept liability for managing the whole device. “A solution like VMware Horizon Workspace is attractive, because it lets us only manage the assets on the phone for services like virtual classroom labs,” he said.

Of course, some might argue that this flies somewhat in the face of BYOD’s very spirit, because you’re forcing users to use your applications and/or workspace, rather than the ones they want. BYOD, after all, is about the user experience.

But giving your users full access to the tool in question means facing the perilous world of operating systems fragmentation. Several — like Windows Mobile and iOS — are strictly managed, secured, and deployed by their respective owners, but when Android devices overtook the iPhone as Australia’s most popular mobile device last December, it opened it up to a very fractious field.

We can look to coding standards to save us to some extent; they’ve helped Dish Network, one of the biggest satellite TV providers in the US.

“We were excited about a solution that leverages the potential of HTML 5,” said Dish CIO Mike McClaskey. “That means we have a standard application that can run on a lot of different operating systems and devices, and render accurately and consistently.”

Building apps and tools for operating systems also isn’t as much of a problem as we think it is, according to LANDesk director of product Mike Temple. “People think of it as an application development challenge, but there’s a whole industry popping up to outsource application development when the real issue is the management platform,” he said.

But the field is still fraught with technical and policy challenges. ANU’s MDM solution has a remote wipe function, but Peter Nikoletatos said an efficient and secure cloud solution is still being resolved.

The university provides guidelines on data management and responsible use, but, as Nikoletatos said, “as users shift more to mobile devices, real-time access to data anywhere, anytime is becoming an increasing challenge”.

Source: ZDNet

The challenge of mobility and the cost of BYOD fleets #Media #Press #ZDNet

In March 2013, ZDNet reported that the size of the 2013 bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market would be double that of 2012, making BYOD truly mainstream.

Sixty eight percent of respondents in the same research report said that getting buy-in from staff presents no challenge to a BYOD workplace program (no surprise, given how much we all love our own phones and tablets), but of the aspects reported as “a very big challenge”, most responses were for “devising a security policy” and “implementing appropriate mobile device management [MDM] software”.

more recent study by Greyhound research confirms how many enterprise IT departments are getting on board, and also how many seem ill equipped to do so. Seventy percent of respondents have plans for BYOD, but 30 percent of those have no concrete security or policy plans in place.

All of this means that BYOD is here to stay, but is the enterprise world ready for it?

The challenges of BYOD
Before you even talk about malware or the Apple Store, the first hurdle is making BYOD work financially. You have to buy fewer devices, but one little security incident could be catastrophic. According to CompTIA, the top reason given for BYOD is to increase out-of-office productivity, but research by TEKsystems said the main payback is employee satisfaction, with little monetary effect on customers or IT budgets.

Assuming you jump in, the scariest threat is security. The thought of company data on a device that’s dripping with malware is scary enough, but an employee posting “about to take the bag full of cash profits down to the bank — LOL!” on their mobile Facebook app or losing their device (accounting for almost half of all mobile security incidents) might cripple the business just as thoroughly. The 160,000 phones lost across the US every day, according to the CompTIA report, cost the economy $30 billion per year.

“Data classification is a huge focal point of action,” said Australian National University (ANU) CIO Peter Nikoletatos. In an environment where he says users, particularly students, have always bought their own devices, data access and protection levels undergo strict implementation procedures.

“Users have to be informed about the various mobile and cloud solutions, but, more importantly, how to leverage them in a way that minimises risk to our IP and protects both users’ privacy and the university’s reputation.”

But even legitimate data or usage presents a grey area. Usually, it’s easy to determine what belongs to you and your employer (Angry Birds versus a spreadsheet with company finances), but Nerds On Call founder Andrea Eldridge said not everything on your device is so cut and dried.

“Communicating with clients can lead to muddy waters when they begin to call you directly on your mobile,” she said. Once a client calls you, she thinks your employer effectively has some claim to your phone number — but do they have the right to ask you to give it up if you leave?

To sandbox of not
Mobile device management (MDM) is a set of protocols and policies used by IT departments to minimise risks, but if the figures above are to be believed, it’s not as mature or widespread as it should be.

A popular alternative is giving users a cloud-based work environment that’s locked off from the rest of their system. Still in academia, University of Missouri-Columbia assistant professor Prasad Calyam said MDM forces the IT department to accept liability for managing the whole device. “A solution like VMware Horizon Workspace is attractive, because it lets us only manage the assets on the phone for services like virtual classroom labs,” he said.

Of course, some might argue that this flies somewhat in the face of BYOD’s very spirit, because you’re forcing users to use your applications and/or workspace, rather than the ones they want. BYOD, after all, is about the user experience.

But giving your users full access to the tool in question means facing the perilous world of operating systems fragmentation. Several — like Windows Mobile and iOS — are strictly managed, secured, and deployed by their respective owners, but when Android devices overtook the iPhone as Australia’s most popular mobile device last December, it opened it up to a very fractious field.

We can look to coding standards to save us to some extent; they’ve helped Dish Network, one of the biggest satellite TV providers in the US.

“We were excited about a solution that leverages the potential of HTML 5,” said Dish CIO Mike McClaskey. “That means we have a standard application that can run on a lot of different operating systems and devices, and render accurately and consistently.”

Building apps and tools for operating systems also isn’t as much of a problem as we think it is, according to LANDesk director of product Mike Temple. “People think of it as an application development challenge, but there’s a whole industry popping up to outsource application development when the real issue is the management platform,” he said.

But the field is still fraught with technical and policy challenges. ANU’s MDM solution has a remote wipe function, but Peter Nikoletatos said an efficient and secure cloud solution is still being resolved.

The university provides guidelines on data management and responsible use, but, as Nikoletatos said, “as users shift more to mobile devices, real-time access to data anywhere, anytime is becoming an increasing challenge”.

Source: ZDNet