In 1993 Apple released the Newton, a handheld personal digital assistant, complete with a touch screen and stylus that allowed users to gather, manage, and share information. Sound familiar? It should, as most modern touch screen devices can trace their roots back to Newton.
And yet, despite the colossal success of the iPad and iPhone, Newton was considered a flop. Whatever the reasons for its failure, Newton is just one example of many technologies that were before their time.
Resisting new technologies isn’t an attribute specific to the past. Even today, there are plenty of examples of those who are critical of new technology trends. A great example is that of cloud computing and bring your own device (BYOD) policies. Despite the promised benefits, and widespread support of many IT experts, cloud technology and BYOD are facing slower than anticipated implementation in the workforce. In the U.K. for example, BYOD is facing a dismal four per cent rate of adoption.
The question that follows, not surprisingly, is why. People often equate Newton’s failure with being priced too high and poor writing recognition software. But in the case of cloud computing and BYOD, why are people resisting these obviously beneficial technologies?
Well, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise why cloud-based solutions are often criticised. Most businesses still worry about security problems, which given the recent breaches at DropBox and iCloud, is a legitimate concern. Now, this isn’t to say the cloud isn’t safe. For the most part, there are many security benefits of switching to cloud storage. However, it’s relying on third-party vendors that many find to be a little unsettling. Even the best providers, using the the latest encryption and security technology, will sometimes fail. If companies mistakenly choose an inexperienced vendor, they risk having all their important information damaged, lost or even stolen. Many organisations worry about placing someone else in charge of company information. Instead, they feel much safer knowing their information is stored safely under their own control, within their own private networks.
Security isn’t exclusive to cloud computing. It’s also very relevant to BYOD. Employers still worry about mixing personal and professional devices. After all, employees may not have the same secure browsing habits while at home. They could visit unprotected sites, or open fraudulent emails, both of which could put the entire contents of their devices at risk. Also, personal devices don’t usually come with the same enterprise security software that most company machines do.
It isn’t just about security. Employers also worry about the confusion of converting to a BYOD culture. Many organisations feel their IT skills are inadequate to handle this transformation. They believe the confusion surrounding BYOD policies could translate to less efficiency at work.
More and more mobile devices, like wearables, are hitting the market. Not to mention, newer releases are more powerful and reliable, making employees want to ditch their slow, outdated machines for the latest and greatest. BYOD isn’t an issue that’ll just vanish. Companies that find a solution will be significantly further ahead of those that can’t, meaning BYOD should be on top of organisational to-do lists.
New technologies don’t need to follow the path of the Newton. There doesn’t need to be a death and then resurgence 20 years from now.
In the case of cloud computing, it’s important to first determine if this is a route your company wants to take. The cloud comes with advantages and disadvantages, so make sure if you want to migrate to the cloud, it’s part of your strategy. Don’t just do it because everyone says you should. Understand the technology and make the switch if it makes sense and will further your business. Take the time to investigate possible vendors, and hire one with a proven record.
The success of BYOD hinges on communication. As mentioned earlier, many employers feel confusion would lead to failure. That can be easily solved. If employers are transparent about their expectations, and voice them in a way that everyone understands, there’s no reason they couldn’t have a successful BYOD policy. The key is to have open dialogue between employers and employees, allowing them to share concerns and address them in a way that leaves everyone satisfied.