Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) v Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)

IDC’s top prediction for 2014 in Asia-Pacific is this (according to ZDNet):

“Death” of BYOD, birth of CYOD

So what’s the difference between bringing and choosing? Whether I purchase my iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S4, or my employer does, what’s the difference?

Wintry Walk on Fare Snape Fell

This is what IDC are reported to have said in ZDNet:*

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but one thing is that BYOD doesn’t have a great [return on investment] ROI, there isn’t one,” said Charles Anderson, head of telecoms and mobility for IDC Asia-Pacific. He was speaking as a panelist at the research agency’s event, which highlighted CYOD as one of 10 key trends for next year.

Anderson pointed out there were also costs associated with supporting users, devices, security when accomodating BYOD. Beyond mobilizing a person, there was little value in that, he added. “These people are going to bring their devices into the enterprise and what are they going to do with them? You give them access to e-mail, but they’re already at work, so they probably have access to e-mail already.”


“What CYOD is really about, it’s IT regaining some of that control and securing applications, and delivering tangible business benefits,” explained Anderson.

Those are certainly interesting views, ones which I’ve heard a number of times, but I think that they miss the point of BYOD.

The difference between BYOD and CYOD is not just about sourcing. The point of a CYOD approach is that it’s really a return to the managed environment. It’s a choice between managed Android, managed iOS, managed Windows and/or managed OSX. In some cases it might even include a managed Linux. But, as the report on the IDC event points out it’s about “IT regaining control and securing applications”.

In the BYOD Concept Map that I put together I included CYOD as a leg off the “creates concerns about” side. Security and business impact are a concern and so you create an envelope that reduces that concern, an envelope of management, an envelope of restriction and control. But you are under pressure to give some choice, so you let people choose from a limited subset of devices and operating systems.

I can fully understand why businesses want to do that. You want people to focus on work and hence you want to control the set of applications that they have access to because you don’t want the situation where (as it says in the ZDNet report) “people were basically watching YouTube videos all day long”. Likewise, you want to secure your data, so you want to limit the places where it can go. We’ve tried these approaches before to combat these very same problems, and they don’t really work, they give the vernier of working.

Beyond my view that these types of control don’t really work I also think that the CYOD approach misses some significant concepts of BYOD:

The first concept that I think that CYOD overlooks is where the value of BYOD is coming from. There is huge value in making people more mobile which both CYOD and BYOD enable; beyond that, and probably more significantly, the value of BYOD comes from the innovation and productivity advantage of choice itself. It’s not primarily the choice of device that drives that value; it’s the choice of applications. You’re not going to see that value expressed on any device TCO calculation, or even in an ROI calculation for the capability, but that’s where the value is coming from.

The second concept that I think that CYOD is overlooking is that of the changing culture. All of the millennial digital natives out there are going to begrudgingly choose their device and also utilise their own personal device. They’ll use whichever device they need to in order to get the job done, but their first choice will be their personal device over which they have full choice. The company provided CYOD device with limited choice will only be used when it needs to be.

Some people will be happy with a CYOD approach, it may well be the best choice for the current majority workforce, but it’s an interim half-way house much like private cloud is a transitional approach.

Now, I do have to acknowledge that I’m speaking from a Western European perspective with significant insight into the North America market, so perhaps things are radically different in Asia-Pacific where this prediction was specifically aimed.

Rather than the “death” of BYOD it’s my view that we’ve barely seen the start of a dramatic shift in the ways that we work and even what we call work.

Hat-tip to Matt for highlighting this report to me.

* I’d normally try to read the original source report, in this case from IDC, but I’ve not been able to find it, even though I have access to IDC reports.

3 thoughts on “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) v Choose Your Own Device (CYOD)”

  1. I will preface my reply by stating that about 10-15 years ago I was more definitely in the “my own device makes me more productive, flexible, etc.” but now I’m older (maybe a little wiser or cynical) the whole BYOD thing mainly focuses on two aspects:
    1) personal work productivity
    2) corporate protection
    But what about the question of – if I bring my own device – other than some (dubiously) measurable improvements to my happiness about using the devices, and other stuff I have invested my thoughts upon, what do I, as an employee, actually get out of it?
    The difference is, for me, 10-15 years on is that I wouldn’t want to lug my own device all over the place for work, struggle to find spare storage, etc. to perform work tasks. So what about the recompense for the employee if they bring their own device? Portable devices are more likely to need repair or replacement.
    My personal response is – if there is insufficient recompense then I’ll take the corporate device and the corporation will have to get used to the work I produce on that.
    In my work experience companies are not good at handling such recompense. I can see why they would go for CYOD – and probably I would be happy with that as well – as long as the choice was good.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: