The App-side of BYOD
Employees love it. Companies can leverage it. And IT administrators have learnt to live with it. So "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) will come to be. But that's just the beginning. Going forward, consumer mobile usage patterns will probably suggest even greater possibilities for leveraging enterprise mobility. One of these is a corporate app store.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the interface of choice for accessing the Internet and the mobile web is accessed through apps over 80 percent of the time. The reasons why almost everything has an app are easy to understand - there are over a billion mobile web users now and apps deliver an easier interface, require minimal user input and create great user experiences. From there, with BYOD taking root at an increasing number of organizations, it's easy to make a case for corporate apps, and a corporate app store to enable employees in a mobile computing environment.
In general, corporate apps can enable IT administration to secure and manage the devices used for work, addressing the primary concern of the BYOD phenomenon. Beyond that, the possibilities for app development are determined by the unique nature of the business's needs. For example, a biotech firm would need an app that helps the process of drug discovery and also a medical app which allows for the mapping of medication to side effects. The focus needs to be on fit-for-purpose apps developed by role, function or department with emphasis on productivity, communication and collaboration.
A recent study of Millennials reveals that state-of-the-art technology is a major (positive) influencer in their choice of workplace. Companies, therefore, have the opportunity to leverage their app store as a symbol of a technological culture that resonates with the 'oh-there's-an-app-for-that' generation. Beyond just the cultural dimension, companies can create engagement by developing and delivering apps that go beyond professional productivity to serve the lifestyles of their employees. Employees also need to be involved in the curation of the app store, either by contributing ideas or by being involved in the development process itself.
Corporate app stores have the potential to transform BYOD from a convincing model to a compelling one. Organizations that have adopted BYOD have reportedly improved productivity and employee retention. And, what's more, it doesn't just stop with the mobile. The mobile apps model, in many ways, is a step towards total transformation of traditional web experiences from large web applications to applications that are a sum of multiple micro-experiences.
Perhaps then, going from BYOD to the corporate app store, is to take that one step closer to full enterprise mobility.