Laptop KeyboardSome employees love the idea of bringing their own devices to work, and their bosses are seeing dollar signs in the trend's potential for cutting costs. But Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols's recent piece in Computerworld raises questions about BYOD's unintended consequences. He points out that in their rush to save money, employers might be tempted to make self-supported equipment and software a requirement for getting a job -- or keeping the job. I think the odds are on this happening. Considering the pressure both large and small companies are under to make a profit -- not to mention stay in business -- BYOD is a viable cost-saver. And as the federal government continues to monkey around with taxes and regulations, companies want to minimize spending. After the recent Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, frustration in many businesses is undoubtedly on the rise. Nobody knows just how the new costs and regulations will affect operations, but they know it will cost money and time, maybe even jeopardize their futures. After spending my whole life in tech, I'm a strong proponent of using the latest and greatest equipment, whenever possible. The best way to do have employees do that is by having them bring their own devices. Who has time to wait around for some low-budget notebook or slow cell phone network when income-producing work needs to be done?

The Independent Route

As an independent consultant and writer, I've supplied my own infrastructure for the last decade. Clients don't care what I use or how I do what I do, as long as I get the job done on time and without surprises. I've always done my homework and made equipment purchases based on performance and features, with price being a close but not deal-breaking consideration. I buy the fastest, most capable and reliable hardware I can afford and then take care of it so it lasts. Most people aren't prepared for the change. If you're one of them, you need to think fast. If you're not ready, BYOD could hinder your ability to get and/or hold down a job. I'm afraid that workers who aren't ready to show up with their own bag of tricks will be face a real challenge. The good thing is that IT specialists, programmers and mobile developers are the most capable of turning BYOD into a profitable opportunity and a competitive advantage. If you're independent -- or want to be -- here are few ideas that may help you get ready:
  • Start your own consulting firm specializing in “employee hardware and software” support.
  • Start selling package deals of equipment that cater to a specialized clientele.
  • Consider opening a “workspace cafe” where people can go to get things done. For a small fee, you could supply the computers, network and support.
  • Create and present seminars for both businesses and job seekers on how to meet the new challenge of self-owned infrastructure.

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