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Take the EC 13 Challenge and Coin a Replacement for "BYOD"

In less than a week, thousands of vendors and enterprise customers will converge in Orlando for Enterprise Connect 2013, where they will discuss everything from WebRTC to SIP to cloud to UC to mobility. Bringing this talent together in one place creates a great opportunity to "crowd source" a replacement for the term BYOD.

Why do we need to coin an alternative to "Bring Your Own Device?" Here are four reasons (though I could think of more):

It's a Bad Analogy: BYOD is a play on "BYOB," ("bring your own booze/beer/bottle"), a term used to inform guests that the host is too cheap to provide drinks. The comparison is deceptively benign: guests bring their wine/device and the host provides glassware/network access. But the analogy quickly unravels. For BYOB to really parallel BYOD, the host would have to worry (among other things) about someone bringing bad moonshine that blinds the guests or that incapacitates them, allowing thieves to crash the party, rob the partygoers and steal the furniture.

The Term is Dated: Who first coined BYOD is a mystery, though one source traces it to 2009. In the early days, BYOD was a coping mechanism, not a strategy. Essentially it meant: "I don't care what it takes, make Exchange work on my new iPhone." Now, however, powerful apps and more capable devices, including tablets, have created new challenges and threats that no one could have anticipated when "BYOD" was initially coined.

BYOD Creates Misguided Expectations of Cost Savings: This syndrome is a by-product of the term's "BYOB" origins: if the host saves on the bar tab with BYOB, the enterprise must also save when employees use their devices under BYOD, right? Wrong: BYOD often increases costs, including support costs, substantially. Experience shows that the real pay-off from BYOD comes from increased productivity (nearly an hour per employee per week for Intel), not lower wireless costs.

It Fails to Capture the Magnitude of the Challenges Confronting IT. Enterprises now face a larger and more complex set of issues that include the consumerization of IT, virtualization/cloud, and the role of mobility in the enterprise. While many use BYOD as shorthand for these distinct challenges, the term falls short because there's so much at stake besides letting employees bring their own hardware to work (after all, there are plenty of corporate-owned mobile devices that need to be integrated into the enterprise as well).

You may ask: "So if you're so smart, what's your proposal for replacing BYOD?" Here's my suggestion to kick off the discussion: "CCM," which stands for

* Consumerization of IT (which, while it includes tablets and smart phones, embraces a wide variety of other products and services that are finding their way into the enterprise),

* Cloud (which is a key component for secure data access) and

* Mobility (which is transforming how enterprises work).

I'm sure that more creative minds at EC13 can devise an even better term to replace BYOD, and I look forward to hearing the results.

See you next week in Orlando.