More and more businesses are finding out the truth that Michael Finneran was telling people way back in 2012: fighting BYOD is a losing battle. It’s here, and it’s not going anywhere. Sometimes we just have to bow to the inevitable. But other times, like this, we should welcome it with open arms. BYOD is set to transform how employees interact with each other, their work networks, and their jobs. It also has some specific advantages for our industry.
So, how can BYOD benefit your insurance agency?
1: It’s All Devices…
…not just smartphones. No CIO is going to be pleased with the idea of a smartphone – a magnet for children’s fingers and every kind of mishap from being dropped to being stolen – being employees’ chief avenue of interaction with their carefully set-up network. But the reality is that employees are bringing all their own devices in, not just smartphones. That means laptops, tablets and phablets as well as phones.
2: Your employees are using your network with consumer-facing products…
…and that’s a good thing. Mobile browsers are usually more up-to-date than a company’s own desktop set-ups, which is great in itself, but there’s another benefit. Employees are using their tablets and smartphones just the way customers are and as customer mobile use explodes, your website and network really needs to be able to stand up to scrutiny from picky consumers. Your employees can test it as they use it!
3: Your IT Costs Are Slashed
Hardware stops being your problem. You supply the network, and employees supply their own means of accessing it. That makes sense for you, because you’re paying less for a more agile, functional, and user-friendly set of devices; and it makes sense for your employees because they actively prefer to use their own devices.
4: Your Network Has To Catch Up
But the chances are it already needed to. Getting staff to understand that security isn’t about hardware but about network access is absolutely vital. But it’s vital that your CIO’s attitudes and your network reflect this. BYOD takes the security focus off the hardware and lays it on the network where it belongs.
5: Your Business Model Catches Up Too
Way back in 2008, 2009, when online sales became possible for a wide audience, insurance agents were dismissive of the new medium. They didn’t want to encourage a way of doing business that threatened to cut the ground out from under their industry. Things are different now: insurance agents have turned their attention to how they can stay in touch with the connected consumer. Staying relevant means staying mobile and connected, and that comes with BYOD.
6: Employees Are Always Available
In the insurance business, much like real estate, the office is a base of operations; it’s not where the majority of real work actually happens in most businesses. But with more and more company data computerized and flowing through CRMs, integrated billing, and other apps, being disconnected as soon as you step out of the office just doesn’t make sense. BYOD lets employees remain in touch with office systems and reachable by messaging, phone or email when they’re not physically present.
7: Insure Social Media Success
One of the reasons consumers turn to you, rather than doing their own insurance shopping, is that they trust you. But in return for that trust they expect engagement. Consumers expect responses to tweets to be in the twenty to thirty minute range and they’re likely to express their irritation if they get left hanging. BYOD makes connectivity through social media, where most of your customers are spending at least some of their day, easier.
As our industry adapts to a changing business landscape, BYOD is likely to become the standard way of doing business, and not just in insurance. But don’t sweat it: that’s a good thing!
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