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FCW : December 2012
14 December 2012 FCW.COM So far, the debate over bring-your- own-device policies has focused on device management, security and trustworthy apps for accessing and sharing agency data. But there s an even more fundamental question: Once you have a BYOD environment, what is it good for? That determination should be the main driver for any agency seeking to institute a BYOD policy. Despite all the talk about how inevitable BYOD is, if allowing employees to use their own smart phones and tablet PCs at work doesn t bene t the agency, why go through the pain of developing and securing such an environment? Daniel McCrae, director of the Serv- ice Delivery Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra- tion s Of ce of the CIO, is taking that position. He said he doesn t believe BYOD is unavoidable, "though certain- ly doing a BYOD business case would be an essential item for all agencies. Whether or not that points to an actu- al BYOD implementation would be a function of all the risk, mission and cost factors involved. So I don t think it s at all a foregone conclusion for all agencies." NOAA has a highly mobile and dis- persed workforce, with employees sitting at desks in agency of ces, log- ging on from ships out on the ocean or hiking across glaciers to monitor the weather. McCrae acknowledged that BYOD offers the potential for reduced hardware costs and increased produc- tivity because employees are already comfortable using the devices they bring from home. "Our biggest challenge would be to replicate the virtual work space that would be needed in a BYOD environ- ment," he said. "Getting beyond the typical voice and e-mail applications you use mobile for is where you will start to achieve some of the biggest gains in productivity." Supporting ef ciency and collaboration The Agriculture Department is one agency that has done its homework when it comes to how BYOD could cut costs and transform business processes. As a result, it is a leader in using mobile technology to become more ef cient. Former Associate CIO Owen Unangst was one of the leaders of a movement at USDA to see how BYOD and mobile computing could be used to transform agency operations. "We looked at one business model where eld inspectors had to go to a site eight times in order BYOD: NOT SO INEVITABLE AFTER ALL Employees might demand e-mail and Web access on their own devices, but agencies should think carefully when considering broader BYOD policies BY BRIAN ROBINSON
November 30, 2012