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The Intranet in the Age of BYOD

Think back to your childhood, we all had that parent, teacher, aunt, or uncle who’s answer was always NO! Until recently this was the answer of most IT organizations when it came to bringing your own device to the table. Can I get my email on my phone? No! Can I access the intranet from my iPad? No! With the prevalence of tablets and mobile phones these answers are no longer good enough and companies are being forced to address the issue of BYOD. I think of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man character from Saturday Night Live, organizations are being forced to adapt and leave behind their Grumpy Old Man ways.

In my day we accessed the intranet on IE6, from the office, and we couldn’t find anything we needed, and we LIKED IT!
– Grumpy old intranet user

BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device is a growing trend in many organizations. Intended to empower users by allowing them to work on the device of their choosing. BYOD has spawned from the proliferation of tablet and mobile devices over the last 10 years, those same devices that people use in their daily lives have found their way into the office as many people saw these devices as more productive and even fun to use. While many organizations have struggled with the security implications of these connected devices others have embraced BYOD and sought to incorporate BYOD into their corporate IT policies. BYOD has numerous ramifications for the corporate IT department as it relates to the Intranet, let’s explore a few of those.
This may seem obvious but if BYOD is to enable access to the intranet then the intranet must be accessible anywhere. Organizations must reexamine their policies as it relates to firewalls and open access to traditionally internal only resources. Opening up access comes with a host of security concerns, leading to the proliferation of mobile device management offerings such as Microsoft Intune. Many organizations have to strike a healthy balance between allowing access beyond the firewall and properly securing internal resources.
Data Security
One of the biggest risks associated with BYOD is the control of sensitive corporate information and the ability to audit how and where that information is used. Over the last few years Microsoft has made tremendous strides in data security with advance tracking and audit capabilities built into the Office 365 spanning the Office Suite, Exchange, and SharePoint. For these reasons SharePoint Online and Office 365 are becoming the defacto choice for delivering the corporate intranet.
Mobile Design
Until recently the mobile experience for the intranet was often an after thought. With the proliferation of devices and design movements such as “mobile first” the tide has shifted. In any intranet design initiative undertaken today a mobile responsive design would be considered “table stakes”. Many corporate intranets are based on the SharePoint platform, which does not provide responsive behavior natively (though it is moving in that direction), requiring many hours of design, customization, and testing to implement responsive design. In other cases organizations have embraced the Software as a Service movement and opted to leverage solutions like Perficient’s Rise, and Intranet-as-a-Service product that provide mobile responsive design as an out of the box  feature. Based on SharePoint Rise provides numerous templates and intranet features which are designed with a “mobile first” approach.
Too often the intranet has been the seen as lacking innovation. With the adoption of BYOD users have grown accustomed to a consumer grade user experience and expect the same from their corporate intranet. In our experience we’ve seen that most organizations revamp their intranet every 3-5 years and very few have a continuous investment year over year in their intranet technologies. In order to deliver the innovative features that users expect, IT organizations must shift their thinking away from delivering platforms and toward delivering solutions. Perficient has built Rise to enable this type of innovation for the SharePoint intranet. Out of the Box Rise provides all of the common functionality needed to deliver an innovative and feature rich intranet, but it goes beyond that. As an Intranet-as-a-Service Rise continues to deliver value with rolling releases of new features and functionality. With Rise handling the innovation on the intranet, IT departments are free to focus on other core areas of innovation within the business.
Like it or not, and most users Love it, BYOD is here to stay. What kind of organization do you want to be, the grumpy old man or the cool uncle?
If you are stuck in your intranet journey or struggling with how to enable BYOD for your users, Perficient can help, get in touch with us to find out how.
To learn more Rise Intranet-as-a-Service download our latest guide: Accelerate Your SharePoint Intranet with Rise.

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Patrick Falgoust

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