Reality Check: The BYOD trend hits Latin America

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Editor’s NoteWelcome to our weekly Reality Check column. We’ve gathered a group of visionaries and veterans in the mobile industry to give their insights into the marketplace.

So what kind of smartphone do you have? Is it an Apple iPhone, an Android, or a BlackBerry? As 3G and even 4G networks are deployed across Latin America, smartphone adoption is soaring. And once they experience the power, versatility and sheer fun of smartphones, people can get almost addicted to them.

And that means that people want to take those personal smartphones to work – and to use them for work e-mails. And work phone calls. And personal phone calls. And personal e-mails, texts, and … well, you get the picture. Why have two phones — one for work, one for life — when you can have it all on your smartphone?

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From Panama to Chile, the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) trend is coming on fast—and it looks like it’s here to stay. However, BYOD introduces much greater complexity—something that Latin American service providers will need to carefully plan for.

BYOD’s growing popularity and business benefits, improving customer experience

Amdocs recently released the results of a global survey, conducted by analyst firm, Heavy Reading, that explores the growing demand for BYOD support from business customers. “BYOD has been gaining momentum as consumers want to bring their favorite smartphones and tablets to work, and with enterprises anticipating benefits such as increased productivity and employee satisfaction, we surely expect this trend to continue to grow,” said Ari Banerjee, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.

The majority of surveyed service providers (73%) expect to see a 10% to 25% increase in BYOD device requests from business customers in the coming year due to the recognized benefits for businesses. Cost savings, employee satisfaction and increased productivity are cited as the primary benefits of BYOD for service providers’ business customers, with almost half of service provider respondents believing that BYOD will decrease costs and increase productivity by 10% to 25% for these customers.

The complexity challenge and the very real security threat

The growth of employees bringing their own mobile devices into the workplace introduces additional network complexity, since service providers need to accommodate both the personal and business aspects of the devices. “BYOD creates new complexities for both the enterprise and the service provider who must support features such as device care, bill split, security, shared loyalty and data plans and differentiated quality of service,” said Ari Banerjee.

Overcoming security and other challenges, with integrated BSS/OSS suite

BSS/OSS integration is essential for overcoming security issues and other challenges. Despite 77% of respondents of the Amdocs global survey stating that residential and business BSS/OSS integration is needed to support the BYOD market and specific business requests, only half are able to link personal and corporate personas. The lack of BSS/OSS convergence (53%) is cited as the main inhibitor, because it prevents a single view of the customer (51%).

Service providers will need to ensure that their own systems are upgraded and ready to provide such offerings to their business customers, and that they are able to implement such services quickly and securely, while providing support in real-time.

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