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BYOD and UC&C adoption shows no sign of slowing down

BYOD and mobility are powerful trends proving to disrupt the traditional workplace and are bringing many benefits to businesses.

While IT managers are aware of this trend they are often unaware of the potential benefits and risks and the necessity of a clear plan or strategy, says Maud Holvast, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) vice president Australia and New Zealand.

"You can't afford to ignore an increasingly agile workforce and the consumer-led demand for mobile communications. You can turn these trends to your advantage by effectively supporting your employees' desire to work with their chosen mobile devices and apps - their personal clouds.

"However, you must ensure that your enterprise's assets are not compromised, and you must be able to customise the mobility solution to suit employees' preferences and needs," ALE says.

BYOD is clearly an unstoppable revolution, says Holvast. According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent study, 67.8% of employees bring their own smartphone to work, and the current worldwide mobile working population totals 1.3 billion, or 38%.

In New Zealand, BYOD adoption is much higher than other countries, with the amount of employees bringing their own device to work closer to 70-80%.

When BYOD is done correctly is enables businesses to be more flexible and efficient, providing employees the means to communicate, collaborate and find or knowledge anytime, anywhere.

However, 80% of today’s BYOD activity remains unmanaged by IT departments and IT leaders say they know many employees would use their personal devices even if it goes against company policy.

When businesses allow employees to embrace BYOD without policies or controls in place, it can have negative side effects, says Maud.

For instance:

  • It can open up a professional environment to malware and viruses,
  • If calls aren’t routed through the corporate plan or WAN it can significantly increase costs, and
  • If the mobile device isn’t part of the professional communications environment, the end user experience can become less effective and efficient.

Kiwis are beginning to take BYOD policies and strategies more seriously, but there is still work to be done, according to Holvast.

“In New Zealand we see that CIOs are understanding that BYOD is here, and rather than fighting it they need to find a way to embrace it and make it more safe and cost efficient,” she says.

One way to enable secure, smart and cost efficient mobility is by adopting a Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) solution, Holvast says.

A UC&C solution optimises business communications and provides greater access to knowledge across an enterprise. 

"Unified communications and collaboration is a compelling, game changing technology. [...] It can leverage savings and cost avoidance through ROI and many times can quickly pay for itself through hard dollar savings - for a major healthcare client, an annual projected ROI of 18% ($350 million) above lease cost," says Stephen Leaden, Unified Communications Strategies.

SaaS solutions that encompass everything from CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) to individuals' personal collaboration tools, enables businesses to reduce IT support and maintenance costs, ALE says.

Already, many IT managers have recognised the benefits of UC&C and are in the process of implementing a solution, which is good progress, Holvast says.

In fact, 81% of all IT decision-makers have a strategic plan to evaluate and implement some, most or all aspects of UC&C.

ALE’s UC&C platform, OpenTouch, brings all different devices, software and applications together onto the corporate plan and network, enabling voice communication as well as chat, video and messaging.

The platform works to create an integrated communication experience, control costs and manage devices better.

‘Conversation’ is a key feature of OpenTouch. This is a software client that unifies the communication experience across laptops, desk phones, smartphones and tablets.

This solution also offers real-time, high-quality and uninterrupted mission-critical voice communications, and provides a centrally managed multi-device and multimedia collaboration infrastructure.

With on-premise or cloud options, the offering sits well in the New Zealand market - where businesses are often early adopters of the cloud and there are a number of small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

For SMEs, OpenTouch allows employees and owners to focus on their business rather than their IT, while also providing secure and smart communications, says Holvast.

The pay-per-user mode allows for flexibility with SMEs and recognises that BYOD isn't only about bringing a mobile phone into a business setting, but sees employees using up to 5-6 devices, says Holvast.

Cogent is ALE’s premium partner in New Zealand and offers OpenTouch to Kiwi businesses in CAPEX and OPEX models.

Cogent itself has adopted the OpenTouch UC&C platform in their own business to manage and capitalise on BYOD.

For more information on ALE's UC&C platform, and to get in touch today, click here.

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