Already well underway, the BYOD revolution shows no signs of stopping, with research firm Markets and Markets estimating that the BYOD and enterprise mobility market will grow to $284.7 billion by 2019. And while retail may not be the first sector that comes to mind when you think of enterprise mobility, rest assured: BYOD in retail will grow along with other verticals' adoption of the trend. Here are some predictions.
1. BYOD in retail is as inevitable as BYOD is everywhere else, for the same reasons.
What are the key benefits of BYOD? For the enterprise, the trend brings several advantages. First and foremost is the reduction in capital expenditure associated with shifting device procurement from the enterprise to the employee. Allowing employees to use the devices of their choice also tends to increase worker engagement and satisfaction. In fact, BYOD is widely considered an employment perk. Finally, employee productivity rises when employees use their own devices. BYOD encourages an always-on mindset, and the right infrastructure enables availability of business data whenever and wherever they're needed. None of these benefits are lost on the retail sector and will drive BYOD adoption in the coming years.
2. BYOD in retail will optimize customer relationships.
From the end user perspective, BYOD in retail will provide the tools to greatly improve customer service. New apps will emerge to provide employees on the sales floor with up-to-the-minute information on product availability, pricing, and promotions. These apps and others will also sync with customer-facing smartphone applications, giving employees guidance on customer location, engagement, and interests. Imagine a store where salespeople's smartphones alert them to the shopping interests of the customers around them so that staffers can better meet customers' needs on a one-to-one basis. That's where BYOD in retail is headed.
3. BYOD in retail will demand security infrastructure overhauls.
All these new devices and applications will inevitably demand a reevaluation of retailers' existing data and security infrastructures—and that's where VARs come in. Equipping salespeople with smartphone POS apps? Consumer protection and data privacy regulations will require some form of network segmentation and network- and server-level encryption for compliance. Allowing staff to handle corporate communications from their BYOD devices means more network segmentation and a greater focus on network access control. And the possibility of mobile malware and mobile device loss or theft will make Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions a must.
As a VAR, you may not be selling the employees their smartphones and tablets, but you'll be ideally positioned to help retailers make sure their backend systems are ready for the revolution. Your distributor can help you learn how to support and secure BYOD in retail with white papers on security and privacy and webinars to help you transition from salesperson to security advisor. Get certified in network security through Ingram Micro Training, or, if you don't feel ready just yet, talk to one of our information security and business development specialists to figure out what you need to get started.
Are you ready to sell BYOD to the retail sector? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.