Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the most disruptive trends affecting the business world today including our personal lives. While end-users have embraced the ability to choose their own devices and use the same devices for both business and personal purposes, BYOD presents a number of challenges for organisations. By Edward Carbutt, executive director at Marval Africa.
One of the most obvious issues is security. Security addresses confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. However, BYOD also has implications for IT Service Management (ITSM), and security is only one aspect of IT service warranty.
For a service to create the expected value according to the ITIL framework, it must have both utility as well as warranty. In other words, a service must not only be fit for purpose but also useful. Service warranty is basically the promise of how the service will be delivered. It consists of four different criteria, all of which must be fulfilled for a service to be deemed fit for use, namely availability, capacity, continuity and security. Importantly, there are interdependencies between these components.
Organisations considering making services available for BYOD need to ensure that they address each of these mentioned different elements, otherwise BYOD as a service strategy will not deliver as expected or required. Businesses are able to drive value out of BYOD if the services are available, feature capacity, ensure continuity and are secure. These elements are inherent to the success any service, not only BYOD. They are instrumental in the warrantee of the service and as such, delivering value of the service. In short, value of the service is dependent on the warrantee of the service.
Delivering value with BYOD
Value itself can be examined from different angles, as the service provider or as the end user. However, since BYOD is ultimately a user-defined experience, ITSM from a BYOD perspective must take the user into account and meet their expectations, otherwise it fails to deliver value.
Take, for example, a free Wi-Fi service offered at an airport, which enables users to BYOD onto the corporate network. Customers using the service expect to access the Internet when connected to Wi-Fi. If the service cannot deliver on this expectation, it is not delivering value. The same holds true for any business. BYOD is only a workable solution if organisations can ensure that all four aspects of service warranty are catered to.
A service needs to be available when a customer or user needs it. If it is not available, or the quality of delivery is poor, then the service does not add value, and is essentially useless. Using the airport Wi-Fi example again, if users are connected to the WiFi network but have no access to the Internet, then the service is not adding value. If the service is available but unusable or unstable, it likewise does not deliver value.
Capacity is linked to the performance of a service. If there is insufficient capacity it will negatively affect performance. This is also linked to availability. For example, if there is not enough bandwidth available on the airport WiFi to accommodate the thousands of consumers trying to connect, their Internet access will be intermittent and slow. This makes it practically unusable, and once again the service will not add the expected value for users. Capacity management is essential for ITSM to cater for BYOD requirements.
Continuity of services is the ability of a service to recover in the event of an incident such as service deterioration or absence. Guaranteeing continuity means that there are no breaks in service, and that quick and efficient failovers are in place within the configuration for recovery of the services. In the airport Wi-Fi scenario, failovers need to be put into place to ensure that, for example, if the communication line fails, there is a backup connection in place to allow for the service to be continued without interruption. Without this, the service cannot deliver the expected value, as it is not continuously available when required.
Security is vital in ensuring IT services deliver value, and is thus also an important element in providing BYOD-enabled services. Security needs to protect not only the organisation, but the user as well. For example, airport WiFi services must ensure that the airport network is protected from a variety of threats. However, it also needs to protect users from threats such as information leakage, hacks and more without impeding the user experience. Without this assurance, value from the service cannot be derived.
All about the end user
Ultimately BYOD is about the end user and as such, from a service provider perspective, it is important to protect the organisation and safeguard that services are delivered according to end user expectations. In order for BYOD services to deliver value, customers need to have confidence in their ability to utilise the service when they need it. This requires confidence in the organisation’s ability to effectively manage IT services. Several ISO standards relate to service warranty, and service providers that are compliant with these standards are more easily able to build the trust required to offer effective ITSM around BYOD.