BlackBerrys made mainstream the concept of enterprise IT departments issuing valuable employees mobile devices. The devices ran on enterprise servers. The companies controlled when the devices were upgraded. The companies were able to restrict usage. And everyone was fine.
But over the past few years, more and more people have wanted smartphones for personal use. Except you can;t download a bunch of silly apps on work phones, nor can you send or receive naughty text messages to and from your girlfriend or spouse, or take pictures of your drunk friends at a party—well, you can do all this, but it's not exactly advisable.
Once a consumer has his or her own smartphone, the work phone shifts from being a nifty treat from their employer to a burden and nuisance. Who the heck wants to lug around two smartphones? And with tablets entering the field, are people going to be carrying around two tablets too?
BlackBerry, a pioneer in enterprise usage with its famous server and corporate security, has switched its marketing efforts to the consumer side. Because a trend has started: people own their own devices and they want to use 'em for work too. IT departments, in most cases, have been slow to adopt. After all, they're conceding power and control—on a Bring Your Own Device policy, there are no more enterprise servers.
But companies should nonetheless rejoice over BYOD employees. The cost savings are immense, and the workload is heavily reduced for the business. It also means more employees can be connected to the company via their "work" phones, not just the executives, and even small businesses can have employees with "work" phones for their tiny teams, no longer envying the corporate giants with their fancy servers and hefty BlackBerry budgets.
When it comes to technology, the fluid and agile tend to come out ahead. Those who adopt and adapt to BYODs will see happier employees and a smaller, more cost-effective IT department. Enterprise-server tablets may stick around for a while, because they're not yet as ubiquitous among consumers as smartphones, but the same path to BYOD-dom will ultimately be taken.
Just don't convert to a BYOB policy for office parties.