We’re a product of the me generation. We’ve got fancy toys and we want to play with them in our free time. And now that we’ve figured out how to use them, we see the productivity benefits and want to use them at work as well.

Well, some of us do. Others of us are perfectly satisfied with the technology our employers provide to do our jobs. If it’s not provided, then time away from the office is personal, uninterrupted time away from work. This polarizing topic can be seen in a variety of discussions around the internet, in blog posts and their comments, and in social media.

Consumerization/User-led adoption

What was referred to as a “radical scheme” in 2006, user-led IT may not seem so radical today. BYOD represents another aspect of placing power in the hands of the employee. Or does it? Some employees will argue that BYOD is just a way for organizations to cut IT costs. If carelessly managed, however, BYOD programs could actually have the opposite effect.

In mid-March we published a post focused on user-led IT entitled, Evidence of the Empowered Employee. BYOD is very much akin to the strategy Yammer and other Enterprise Social Networks follow – user-led adoption.

Consumerization:The trend in which employees (as users/consumers) drive the implementation of technology in their company. Employees work from personal devices (smartphones, tablets, netbooks, etc. with personal data plans) and consumer applications.

Bring Your Own Device

Earlier this month, William McBorrough, Cyber Security Advisor at Secure Intervention asked, “What are your thoughts on BYOD?” on Focus.

Some respondents, such as Andrew Baker, see BYOD as inevitable.

“The good news is that as this becomes more inevitable, we will see more vendors providing tools to manage and secure the various devices,” Baker said. “We should also see more protocols, frameworks and standards emerge to facilitate management and security.”

Baker, an Independent Technology Consultant at BrainWave Consulting Company, LLC, addresses this question from a security standpoint. Baker has a background in providing Virtual CIO Services to SMB organizations (Information Security, IT Operations, IT/Business Integration & Technology Strategy).

“Wise organizations” will start that process today to mitigate risks from waiting too long, advises Baker.

“IT leaders and line managers need to work together to implement manageable pilot programs that will give both groups insight into possible value for the organization, while minimizing costs and security risks,” Baker said.

Mobile Access

If implementing a BYOD strategy is indeed inevitable, are employees able to access the tools that would make working from mobile devices productive in the first place? This means more than the ability to check email on the go. We’ve taken a look at the mobile access of the top 5 rated products in our 3 featured categories: Enterprise Social Networks, Transactional Email Delivery and Marketing Automation.

Mobile Access for Top 5-Rated Enterprise Social Network Solutions

Solution Mobile Access NationalField

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad
  • Tablet
  • Blackberry
  • Windows Phone

Yammer

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad
  • Tablet
  • Blackberry
  • Windows Phone

Jive Engage

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad
  • Blackberry
  • Any device with a WebKit browser

Salesforce Chatter

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad
  • Blackberry

Igloo Corporate Social Intranet

  • Blackberry

Given the major selling points of Enterprise Social Networks, it’s not surprising they offer mobile access, but not all business technology products are available via mobile devices. And not all products accommodate all devices. Mobile access for Transactional Email Delivery looks much different.

I understand you might not be inclined to write and design a newsletter from your phone, but maybe tracking the delivery rates or other analytics from your mobile device would keep you connected while away from your desk.

Mobile Access for Top 5-Rated Transactional Email Delivery Solutions

Solution Mobile Access Mailjet

  • iPhone
  • Android

SendGrid

  • No Mobile Access

MessageGears

  • No Mobile Access

ConstantContact

  • iPhone

Dyn

  • No Mobile Access

Here, however, few solutions offer mobile access. The same is true for Marketing Automation, but let’s say you meet a prospect at a conference and would like to immediately put their information into your lead database. Having mobile access to this might come in handy. (Of course, you could always exchange business cards and wait to input new data until you’re back at the office, but we’re talking about the possibility to increase productivity.) Adding a potential lead to a campaign immediately and starting them down the sales funnel while you still have their attention instead of waiting until you’re next in the office could secure their interest – and therefore a sale.

Mobile Access for Top 5-Rated Marketing Automation Solutions

Solution Mobile Access Eloqua

  • No Mobile Access

SalesFUSION 360

  • No Mobile Access

Marketo

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • iPad

HubSpot

  • No Mobile Access

Pardot

  • iPhone

As you can see, few among these solutions offer Mobile access, however. A possible solution lies in virtualization.

Virtual Desktops & Cloud IT

Presidio’s Steve Kaplan published a white paper in March, Using Desktop as a Service to Counteract Bring Your Own Device Inefficiencies (PDF), in which he proposes the solutions to many arguments against BYOD – Virtual Desktops.

“A virtual desktop environment can mitigate many of the challenges surrounding BYOD by providing a very crisp delineation between the corporate and personal desktops,” according to Kaplan. “Employees can access their corporate desktop from anywhere on almost any device whether corporate or personal, but they see [it] only as pixels on their screen – the desktop itself remains in the data center where it is secure, managed, backed up and replicated off-site for disaster recovery purposes.”

The success requires a user-centric IT that can now spend time on strategically developing desktops instead of spending time on hardware updates, according to Kaplan.

Back in September 2010 Rick Parker published a blog post entitled, The Private Cloud: Perfect & Practical. Parker is currently Cloud Architect at Activision with more than 20 years of IT experience.

At the time he wrote that blog post, Parker was working as IT Director for Fetch Technologies, which utilized Cloud IT to “save more than $500,000 in purchase costs and $35,000 in monthly recurring costs,” reducing monthly data center costs by 50 percent during the first phase alone. According to Parker, Fetch Technologies was “not a huge company, so these [were] significant savings.”

The IT department cannot be siloed to achieve those successes, according to Parker.

“Without a team-based approach, a cloud IT strategy won’t deliver its full potential, and it may fail completely.”

As an IT leader, Parker believes Cloud IT solves the problem of the impossibility of predicting an organization’s future IT requirements and isn’t just “hype or a marketing myth.”

“It is the future of IT and the benefits have been apparent for years,” said Parker. “Those benefits make one thing clear: If you are not running or at least building a private cloud today, your IT organization is living in the past.”

And that was nearly 2 years ago.

Does your company have a BYOD policy? What solutions make you (or your employees) more productive on personal mobile devices? Join here today and share your experience or please feel free to comment below.