Taking the BYOD Advantage

    There is no denying the current trend in bringing your own devices (BYOD).

    The rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets is the driving factor behind the BYOD movement of late. It’s not a new concept. Notebook computers, PDAs and more recently Netbooks have been propagating this trend for years. However, one can argue that it is the smartphone revolution that has really caused the BYOD phenomenon to explode.

    There are no shortage of articles that are widely available that explore the benefits (as well as challenges) of BYOD. Every topic from “how to manage different devices” to “the impact on employee productivity” to management practices for reimbursing/cost-sharing usage of personal devices are feverishly discussed in many articles and blogs.

    The one thing that most pundits agree on is that BYOD is being driven by the employee, not the employer. I think that’s a very important point to note.

    It’s probably not just the device (hardware) adoption that is being driven by the employee, but that the apps are also being driven by the end users. This has always been the case with consumer electronics, so why should this be much different? Examples easily come to mind – games drive the success of videogame consoles, content drove the adoption of VHS and later DVD, etc. With this in mind, I believe that companies that seek to do well from the BYOD trend must focus on touching and connecting with the end user. The end users are driving adoption. I think this is true, even for “business” apps.

    Companies that can master the art of marketing and selling to both the end users as well as IT decision makers will have a much higher chance of cashing in on BYOD. It is definitely a challenge, as these two segments are completely different and respond differently. Besides the obvious tactics like specialized messaging and pitching to the different segments, what other levers can be pulled to pique end user interest? Is it possible to tease the end users with the product and allow them to experience it without any commitment? What’s the best way to make end users sit up and realize that you have a product that they have an urgent need for – that is going to make their lives easier from a functional perspective? Is cost-savings alone enough of a motivating factor for an end user to embrace a product, when it is their employer that ultimately pays for it? These are some of the challenges that need to be addressed in the value proposition and should be in every marketer’s overall game plan.

    I believe pitching “business” apps/products to the end user is going to be increasingly important in the years to come. It’s becoming clear that the traditional audience of the IT decision maker is no longer the sole driving force behind the adoption of new technology.

    Sure, it’s very natural for B2C companies to touch end users directly. They have been doing it successfully for decades now. But the entire notion of a B2B company pitching not only to decision makers but to start thinking about end users is more challenging, but necessary in today’s world.

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