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.)

Related posts:

Now it’s BYOA to follow BYOD


A topic in business I hear being talked about a lot is “bring your own device” – BYOD for short – that illustrates some of the profound changes taking place in the workplace in how people use (and want to use ) technologies and tools that let them get things done.

The notion of BYOD – where employees bring their own devices to work and use them for work rather than the far more common practice of a device given to them, and managed/controlled by, the IT department – is capturing imaginations everywhere, in big organizations especially.

BYOD is one of those topics that is hugely hyped, as Gartner’s latest hype cycle for emerging technologies suggests where BYOD currently sits at the high point of the peak of inflated expectations.

BYOD undoubtedly has many benefits, balanced of course by risks to consider. Yet as is often the case with new and exciting technologies, the expectation of what it enables people to do far exceeds its ability to deliver in the time people expect (or wish).

Now there’s something else to consider – BYOA.

It’s no longer about the device, says the Telegraph – now it’s about the apps that the employee uses. It’s been dubbed BYOA or “bring your own apps.”

The Telegraph reports on a recent Citrix survey that says that in the UK, more than 90 per cent of organizations are seeing employees downloading their own apps for business use. There are worries, though:

[…] almost two-thirds of these companies [are] concerned about unmanaged app usage in the workplace and the effects it has on the privacy of that organisation’s data.


[…] Innovation is coming from customers and employees as they demand apps that work better for them than the prescribed software and processes offered by businesses historically. Already it seems clear that Cloud-based apps, while creating a clash of cultures in many organisations, are the future.

The Telegraph’s report goes into detail on possible ways this evolutionary next step might play out, with opinions from a number of experts in the field.

What seems clear is that enabling people to use an app they choose, on the device they choose, makes good sense if you get the calculation right of benefit vs risk.

What you can’t do is ignore a powerful trend.

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.

(Image via Distimo)