BYOT, or bring your own technology, is more than code for "my CEO bought an iPad." BYOT refers to a strategy for letting employees choose and purchase the devices they want to use to do their jobs-everything from PCs and laptops to smartphones and tablets. The machines belong to the employees, who take them along with them if they leave the company.
CIOs who enact BYOT policies are plowing new ground in the consumerization of IT. They seek to cut costs, perhaps-though whether the policy creates hard savings is debatable-and change the way IT and non-IT staff interact. They also expect to improve the productivity of both the IT staff-newly freed from some support tasks-and colleagues who should require less technical training if they use the same machines at home and at work.
Plus, BYOT can boost morale by acknowledging the growing demand from employees to use the technology they like over what IT wants to support, says Leslie Jones, CIO of Motorola Solutions, which since 2008 has reimbursed employees for one personal smartphone and allowed them to use the devices at work. BYOT is a "great acknowledgement of reality," she says.