I was talking with a member of my user group a few weeks back on the topic of his organization’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and some problems that had arisen as a result of it. The organization had adopted a BYOD policy because a number of the people in “executive country” had purchased flashy Apple laptops and preferred to use these rather than the anodyne laptops provided by the organization’s usual corporate IT supplier.
The BYOD policy wasn’t particularly developed beyond “work out how we can give them access to the necessary file shares, printers, Exchange and SharePoint.” Spelled out in the policy was that if a device that was owned by the user rather than the organization, the user, rather than the organization, was responsible for supporting it. The organization would purchase a copy of Office for the user (or, more generally reimburse them for the purchase of Office).
Things went a bit “pear shaped” when the BYOD laptop of one of the senior muppets wouldn’t boot because of a failed SSD. From a “policy” perspective, the resolution was that the senior muppet needed to go to the Apple store and book it in to get looked at. This, of course, wasn’t going to happen immediately. A booking needed to be made and, as per policy, it was the owner of the device that was responsible for getting it repaired.
To make things more complex, certain important documents that the senior muppet had been working on were on the failed SSD. Documents that were needed before someone from Apple could look at the device (in this case within the next couple of hours). Even though the BYOD policy mentioned that device owners were responsible for backup of files and settings, as anyone can guess by this point, backups of the important documents didn’t exist.
The problem for the members of the IT department was that policy ran head long into politics. Senior muppets at the organization were used to having members of the IT department prioritize their problems. When it comes to a decision between pointing to the policy and saying that the device owner has to take responsibility for supporting the device, or creating political problems for the IT department with someone very senior in the company, the resolution was that someone from the IT department had to go down to the Apple store. The IT department ended up organizing to get the repair handled and to organize and pay for the data recovery operation from the failed SSD.
My friend from the user group made the observation that how well BYOD worked was contingent on your political muscle within the organization. If someone further down the food chain had made the same demands, the IT department could have put them off. The higher up the food chain you go, the less responsibility you have to accept for your chose to bring your own device.