BYOD on Cloud simplifying the concept

Debasis Chatterji, CEO Netxcell Limited

Demystifying BYOD
Let us assume a scenario. Dr. Manohar Lal is a general surgeon. He works in a hospital wherein he has an OPD (outpatient department) to look after as well as he does surgery. He uses an i-phone and i-pad but he has a desktop at his office (OPD). In addition to this, he has a personal consultancy at his bungalow wherein he has a personal practice on every Saturday and Sunday out of his clinic located in front portion of the bungalow. He uses a desk top there, also supported by his assistant’s desktop. All the desktops are on MS Windows. Now he watches news video in an online news site in his smartphone while travelling in the car, after reaching hospital the moment he enters his OPD room instead of his desktop (all patient data) he sees OPD patient list in his i-pad. At the same time, he calls up his home to talk to his wife regarding their son’s school holiday plan from the same smartphone. He also receives some phone calls from his patients. He consults his patients for two hours and finally he is ready for the operation to be conducted in operation theatre (OT). The moment he enters the OT room he scrutinizes the entire history of the case (to be operated) again in his i-phone/smartphone which is accessing data from the OT server. This is the typical example of BYOD (bring your own device) concept. The similar type of phenomena gets repeated in his personal clinic also.

The advantages of BYOD
The advantage is seamless integration of personal and official hardware to do personal as well as office work almost simultaneously. Psychologically, it is very satisfying. It makes one to use one’s personal device for office use while on move. It, therefore, improves the productivity. In this case study, seamlessly they have used office device, desktops as well as personal devices such as i-pad or i-phone for official and personal purpose. And most importantly, the applications could be seamlessly integrated with stop and start shift among different devices. This means if I am watching YouTube in my smart phone in my car, the moment I enter my office I could start the same video in my desktop or laptop from the point I stopped the programme in my smart phone. The driving force behind BYOD is a new IT self-

sufficiency among company employees who already own and use newer and advanced version of personal laptops, tablets and smartphones etc. in comparison to company. Apart from employee satisfaction another intention of BYOD is to save cost.

Challenges of BYOD
Is it easy? No. There are several challenges. But, the biggest challenge is about security. How confidant you are to layer your proprietary valuable data on a personal device running on public network? The money organization saves in terms of front end devices, might have to spend on IT to make this arrangement ready for holistic security. Another problem could be seamless OS integration. Mostly, smart phones are on Android, IOS, and Windows. Some CRM or ERP packages are little difficult to extend on the smart phone. However, there is an effort to come with mobile first strategy for CRM.

BYOD policy
We need to decide some sort of BYOD policy wherein the organization must decide how much of information should be received and by whom? There is a flip side also. Personal choice might get compromised as IT could bar or meter certain usages depending on the security policy and capping on opex. Therefore, compatibility of different devices, higher cost of security, data usage monitoring, network/device support in terms of ERP/CRM integration, opex management are some of the genuine challenges of BYOD.

BYOD on cloud
BYOD on cloud makes good sense for certain kind of sales oriented organizations. FMCG, systemic retails, consumer service organizations are already using BYOD wherein it can really improve productivity through the power of mobility. In simple sense, people work while in transit improving the delivery and experience of customers. For example, sales guys prepare a specific sales presentation while moving from one customer to other. By the end of the day, they generate sales report for the sales manager while in transit. But will this arrangement work for an investment company/bank/defense manufacturing/insurance firm wherein

they deal with extremely sensitive classified information? The answer is probably not. Here we need to see a balance. The matter gets further complicated when the processing speed gets very high in the hand-held device due to huge amount of data processing and analysis in stand-alone BYOD environment leading to slow processing and more heating.

BYOD on Cloud- more challenging
So, most of the experience and advantage of BYOD is felt at the front end. But, what about the processing and storage of data in a typical BYOD environment? In typical vanilla BYOD all processing happens in the device while part storage happens in device and part storage goes back to application provider’s server. What happens when the good amount of processing and entire storage go back to a back-end datacenter? In such case we can say that BYOD is on cloud. Thus, BYOD stands for front end and cloud stands for back end advantages. If it is done perfectly, it is a lethal combination. However, the moot question is the nature of the organization where BYOD and/or cloud will suite. While BYOD is a challenge, BYOD on cloud is a double challenge. Because, you are making both front end and back end vulnerable. Front end is exposed to users while back end is exposed to third party. The success of BYOD on cloud depends on case to case basis. Unfortunately, there is no right or wrong formula for it. The eco-system has to evolve to remove the confusion of security. Most importantly, technologically all the platforms must seamlessly integrate and become functional at a cost advantage proposition in terms of capex and opex. That is the key to success of BYOD on cloud adoption.