First BYOD, then BYOA: is COPE the tipping point?

byodjuggleBring your own device‘ is a phrase whose acronym BYOD has gained wide recognition in business, large businesses especially.

Apart from the genuine business pros and cons surrounding the idea of employees bringing their own computers, phones, tablets, etc, to the workplace – and using them for work – it reflects many of the profound changes underway in the workplace where employee empowerment now touches one of the final bastions of organization control: IT.

When I wrote about this recently, it was in the context of looking at another acronym that’s beginning to surface – BYOA standing for ‘bring your own apps,’ where not only do employees bring their own devices but also decide which software they want to run to get things done at work (which doesn’t just mean ‘in the workplace’).

That adds some significant pressure on traditional IT support infrastructures with complexity in what to support, how to do it, where (when ‘workplace’ is a pretty fluid word these days) and by whom.

So COPE might be an acronym whose meaning could be an attractive option for organizations  grappling with BYOD and BYOA.

As RWW Enterprise reports, some companies are turning the whole concept of BYOD on its head in favour of ‘corporate owned, personally enabled’ – COPE, in a word – policies.

[...] COPE essentially works like this: the organization buys the device and still owns it, but the employee is allowed, within reason, to install the applications they want on the device, be it smartphone or traditional computer.

(That’s where BYOA comes in.)

[...] For BYOD, the question for IT is “How do I secure information on a device that I don’t own?” With COPE, the question becomes, “How can I loosen my grip for my employees to use their devices for personal use?”

RWW’s report is a good assessment of the pros and cons of such an approach, and quotes Philippe Winthrop, US-based VP of Strategy at Dutch mobility platform-as-a-service company VeliQ, on how COPE offers organizations big cost benefits compared to BYOD.

[...] With BYOD, Winthrop said, “CFOs see a way to save a couple hundred bucks on CapEx [capital expenditures]. They’re missing an opportunity to save far more on OpEx [operational expenditures].” [...] “With COPE, it’s all about balance,” Winthrop explained. “When I said ‘loosen my grip,’ I didn’t say ‘let go.’”

[...] By embracing COPE, IT can reassert the control it must have to keep data and work processes secure, while still giving employees the shiny toys they so desperately want.

In August, I wrote about Gartner’s latest hype cycle for emerging technologies and how BYOD currently sits at the high point of the peak of inflated expectations, and made this comment:

[...] considering the location on the cycle of a single technology isn’t necessarily the best way of getting complete meaning from what you’re studying.

What I meant by that was thinking of an example Gartner makes where a group of technologies working together is the tipping point for all to move into the next phase of evolution that, hopefully, will lead to enlightenment as a precursor to broad acceptance. That led me last week to speculate thus:

I wonder if or where BYOA will appear on Gartner’s hype cycle next year. Maybe BYOA is one of those things that requires connection with another technology to trigger its tipping point. That ‘other’ clearly looks like BYOD.

It looks like both may require COPE to cope.

(Image above via Econocom.)

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About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.