The Bring Your Own Device movement is not new, however with small business now having equal access to the Cloud as its larger competitors, BYOD should now be considered alongside that cloud takeup.
What Is BYOD?
Quite simply the notion behind Bring Your Own Device is simple. Rather than our Gen Y and now Millenials being expected to perform on something that belongs in a museum, they may choose to bring to work their own iPad, Macbook Pro or other device of choice to work on.
Said Gen Y and Millenials argue they will be more content and more productive working on their pride and joy gadget, and also have the flexibility of working out of hours – bonus. Or is it?
Why, and Why Not To BYOD
The advantages of BYOD far outweigh the disadvantges.
Some things to consider are this: Security, Support and Insurance claims. Should said multi-thousand dollar device be damaged whilst at the workplace or being used for work purposes, who’s policy will cover the replacement? Your insurance broker should be able to tailer a BYOD package to suit.
Your IT department will need to broaden their knowledge outside of the simple PC / Server architecture, however for Gen Y and now Millenial Network Admins, this shouldn’t be much of an issue. You could always lock the choices down to a few devices to keep things manageable.
Access at its most crudest could be kept to a secure Remote Desktop Connection, only allowing connection to the device and user account in the allowed hours of operation. Best Practice Active Directory management would ensure User Access is also restricted.
As Public and Private cloud environments gain increasing traction, the argument of access and reliable provision of services becomes almost nul and void.
Cloud Vendors do need to be Brand Agnostic in their rollouts though for maximum market penetration.
Cashflow Positive Initiative
Another benefit to the small business owner is cashflow. Whether or not you choose to provide employees with an allowance, per Kraft in the USA (who gives their employees a Device Stipend), or not depends on your requirements and BYOD Policy.
There is a real advantage to work with your employee here and show you really are an avant-garde employer.
Why not come to a Salary Sacrifice arrangement with your employee (seek Tax Advice first!), then offer to rent the device back from your Employee?
Or simply pay your Employees a Technology Allowance so they can buy the latest tech of choice safe in the knowledge the Allowance will cover the costs. The Employee simply claims the cost of the gadget in their personal income tax return (again seek Tax Advice first!).
However, the Australian Taxation Office have declared that iPads have substantially the same functionality as laptops hence would be treated the same as laptops in tax claims.
So what are you waiting for, you’ve implemented some cloud technologies, you’re considering moving to Private Cloud, now take the final step and outsource your hardware to your Employees. They will love you for it.
We are in very exciting times for small business. SMB’s who embrace the cloud and all it offers them, will benefit greatly and be infinitely more profitable than their competitors in more ways than one.
For most small businesses, employing staff is a costly exercise. Often the employee’s only tools, their computer and desk, are an after thought. Provided with ageing equipment and expired software is not conducive to high productivity levels. Most employers miss the mark here and fail to see the advantages gained by implementing new computers with modern software. The software costs alone usually outweigh the hardware costs, so most SMB’s won’t upgrade if they don’t have to.
By adopting a suitable Cloud solution, scaling up or down staff numbers could be as simple as a small increase on a monthly rental fee. The employee is mobile and productive from day one without the need for an IT Administrator to have spent many hours configuring a workstation.
The employee is happier working on the latest software versions they have been trained on and are instantly on their game. In fact, cloud is the perfect environment for clever business owners to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Many studies show that BYOD produces happier staff. Why not show you are modern and flexible and implement a salary sacrifice or employee device rental scheme that enables staff to purchase and own their own devices? It keeps the staff happy and lowers your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). No software or data is loaded actually on the staff members device hence lowering security risks of the employee owning the gadget of their choice to work on.
Another bug bear for small businesses perhaps already struggling with keeping margins competitive and still showing the Balance Sheet in the black, is software upgrades.
Keeping software up to date is expensive. Not only the physical cost of purchasing the upgrades or maintaining multiple software subscriptions, but the added cost of either an after hours IT visit, or facing the prospect of having your work force down for a couple of hours to a day whilst the upgrades are performed. Both of these situations drive costs through the roof and are less than desireable.
By operating in the cloud, small business can sigh the sweet sound of relief. Updates are pushed out by the cloud vendor while the SMB and its staff are at home fast asleep. Staff arrive in the morning, and just work.
For many years, SMB’s just couldn’t compete with their larger, more agile, ERP equipped competitors.
Even a couple of years ago, the thought of an SMB mobilising its workforce on iPads, or introducing a real BYOD policy would have been simply a pipe dream.
Today, through SMB speciality cloud vendors such as Reckon Limited, with their QuickBooks and growing Hosted range of products, sales force mobilisation, online warehouses and working from literally anywhere in the world are a reality; and are allowing the more savvy SMB’s to operate on the same turf previously occupied only by the SAP and Netsuite boys.
CLOUD FOR PROFIT
Many small business owners are facing increasing pressures to their bottom lines, from fluctuating currencies, to squeezing margins and employee expectations and loyalty.
Now is the time for small business to adopt the cloud and embrace all it offers as a tool for Growth, Flexibility and ultimately – Profit.
About the author
Nathan Elcoate is a Small Business IT Specialist Consultant, based in Southport, Queensland, Australia.
With over 20 years in Operational Accounting and IT Support and Domain Admin, Nathan is now Director of Axis IT Consulting Pty Ltd, a boutique Accounting Software consultancy firm that is part of the RWG Accountants & Advisors Group.