The future of the workplace: BYOD

Introduction

The rise of BYOD to the point of being a de-facto standard in today’s corporate world is causing a shift in employee and corporate culture. But also it is directly affecting how core IT systems are provided. This blog discusses the race is on to deal with the unplanned impacts of BYOD.

Paperless office

We’re constantly moving closer to achieving the notion of a paperless office – and now with the move towards BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) it doesn’t seem too far away. After all, why use a notepad and pen if you have a handheld tablet device?

According to studies, 89% of IT departments enable BYOD in some form. It’s highly likely that BYOD will feature – policy or not – within your organization in some form. While many organizations provide their employees with some devices – usually a mobile and laptop, it is not uncommon for staff to use their own personal technology when working, in addition to any standard issue kit.

BYOD here for the long-haul

With fresh new technology being introduced so frequently, and people becoming more and more gripped by their sparkling new devices, it’s not surprising that people are bringing them into work. Why? Who knows – maybe better ease of use in comparison to their work devices? Despite the reason, organizations are having to face the issue head on – should they embrace BYOD, or ignore it and hope it’s just a temporary trend.

BYOD does seem to be here for the long-haul, although with the growing demands of employees organizations may have to restrict such policy. CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) embraces all the attractive aspects BYOD has, although gives IT more control and allows them to support a chosen few instead of any device employees may have – and depending on the size of your organization that could provide real difficulties.

Although as daunting as implementing a BYOD or even a CYOD policy may seem, there are a number of benefits for the organization – increased productivity from employees, save money from costs savings and a more flexible workforce to name a few.

But what about Security?

It’s not all rosy, right? There are known challenges organizations face as a result of the move to a BYOD environment:

Security is a widely talked about issue surrounding BYOD – (Just look on twitter: each #BYOD tweet is either followed or preceded by some reference to security). Security is a hot topic for BYOD. Supporting a new array of devices poses a big security risk – what happens if an organizations’ data is misplaced, on a train, in a café – there have been many very widely-publicized examples.  We recognize security is an important factor while considering BYOD, although many avoid or simply don’t identify the importance of the effect of BYOD on current IT infrastructure…

What about Integration?

BYOD has a major knock-on effect on how everything currently works, with significant required changes in terms of integration with current IT infrastructure. Employees want to be able to do everything they can currently do on their work device, although now with their IOS mini tablet, Android mobile or Windows device. For IT, this is a headache. How do you deal with a single type of device let alone many different types of devices?

Furthermore, many of the core business IT functions and applications are likely to be running on a zEnterprise z/OS system, accessed through well-defined asynchronous links and well-established security protocols. These applications, of course, are themselves well-defined, if somewhat dated. Their function key, monochrome operation is a far cry from modern device-friendly interfaces.

With an army of staff (not to mention customers) wishing to access core mainframe applications via their personal devices – for an overworked IT team, this represents an unprecedented additional burden, just to “support BYOD”.

Bridging the Old and the New: Impossible?

How can personal devices access the applications held on the mainframe? Can all forms of device access the mainframe, or do we consider a CYOD roll-out? Can the mainframe handle the changes? Will a BYOD (or possibly CYOD) strategy adversely affect the mainframe set-up?

Unquestionably the introduction of mobile devices into the workplace will challenge the agility of many critical legacy applications, right? Wrong. Many organizations get fooled into thinking their ‘green screens’ (3270/5250 terminals) will not be compatible with their employees modern devices and therefore result to rewriting entire applications or purchasing a middleware solution – this is time consuming, very risky and extremely expensive.

Embracing BYOD with Rumba +

Rumba + Mobile is the first mainframe user interface (UI) modernization application for tablet devices. The new solution enables organizations to quickly modernize zEnterprise-based 3270 green-screen applications on mobile devices. The application interfaces can also be streamlined to reduce the user effort. The newly-presented interfaces quickly improve the end user experience, boost end-user efficiency and bring a modern look and feel to legacy business applications, all without the need to change application code or use specialist development skills.

BYOD may feel like it casts a dark shadow over existing operations, but Rumba’s low-risk approach to modernization allows new devices to “plug in” to existing core application infrastructure and make your BYOD implementation a much more viable prospect.

Click here for more information on Rumba +.

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