Bring your own device has certainly had its fans in recent years, with a growing number of organizations drawn to the collaborative and productive capabilities of smartphones and tablets. Gartner has estimated that by 2017 half of firms will not only allow but encourage employees to take advantage of company BYOD policies.

BYOD and the path toward bringing in anything and everything
Although BYOD is commonly associated with someone simply bringing in a personal device and connecting it to various company applications (as well as attendant security mechanisms), it has the potential to become, or at least influence, something much bigger. Some firms believe that the same ethos behind BYOD could lead to employee-supplied software, storage and services – basically a bring your own anything/everything state of affairs.

According to the Australian government document "Victorian Government ICT Strategy 2014 to 2015," chronicled the shift to BYOD by public sector agencies, citing core benefits such as:

  • Efficient working arrangements: Employees can work from anywhere, potentially driving down organizational costs for office space and power
  • Higher productivity: Workers may feel more comfortable operating out of their homes and using their own devices
  • Easier hardware management: Organizations don't have to buy new endpoints as often, if at all.

The implications of BYOD adoption are wide-reaching. With enterprises becoming increasingly less reliant on hardware, software and even facilities that they have paid for upfront, there's the allure of supporting more operations through cloud computing services that can be delivered to any device, anywhere. It's possible that workers could supplement their personal smartphones and tablets with productivity tools and online storage of their choosing.

"Underpinning BYOD, a range of policies and standards are required to ensure that security, interoperability and performance are not compromised. BYOD is a first step in a broader approach to employee [information and communications technology] productivity, leading to bringing your own productivity software and some storage – i.e. BYOE ('bring your own everything')," wrote the report authors.

The range of use cases for BYOD is certainly impressive. Eight years ago, Seton Academy in South Holland, Indiana introduced student laptops, containing 70 percent of the required textbooks, and now it is transitioning to BYOD. More specifically, its educators plan to use cutting-edge hardware to support school-wide initiatives such as delivering books through the cloud and moving to electronic-only submission of papers.