Using BYOD to Empower Your Retail Employees

By Vladik Rikhter

As an IT policy, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been subject to some recent controversy.

On one hand, some companies realize BYOD’s benefits, including reduced costs and increased productivity. It’s especially useful to retailers who rely on real-time exception reporting.

On the other hand, some companies worry about security risks and possible data breaches.

Fortunately, employees can use BYOD to create an entirely new data set, rather than accessing an old data set that contains sensitive information.

Specifically, a mobile app can create an entry point for a new data set — referred to as task data — by allowing employees to “push up” data from their mobile devices to a secure cloud.

Through the use of an app, sensitive information, such as sales, inventory and labor data, is *not stored* on the mobile device.

The employee-collected information is then viewed from corporate headquarters or a home office.

3 Tips for Retailers Considering a BYOD Policy

1. Know exactly why you are implementing the policy.

As we’ve discussed in a previous post, going paperless is worthless when you don’t have a process for collecting and analyzing data, and most importantly, if you can’t gain actionable insights.

2. Be able to manage the process.

Choose a solution that provides a centralized view of network activity and the ability to act quickly in response. A mobile app can be controlled on a corporate level, so access can be cut off at any time, if needed.

3. Provide a financial incentive to employees.

Generally speaking, BYOD requires a minimal investment since employees will use their mobile devices with their data service. However, companies should provide a small subsidy to employees as an incentive (perhaps $10 a month).

Business practices have changed over time. Fifty years ago, it was rare that employees were asked to use their cars for their job. Today, it’s common practice to reimburse employees for mileage on their own vehicles.

Similarly, BYOD is becoming common practice as more companies discover ways to streamline operations and reduce costs in the digital age.

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