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Bring Your Own Device is both a movement and a policy change. It simply means you encourage or even require your employees to use their personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smartphones) in the workplace and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.

In a 2012 research paper published by Ovum and commissioned by Logicalis, it was found that 75 percent of employees in high-growth markets like Russia and Brazil and 44 percent in developed markets are already using their own personal technology at work. Why not formalize and capitalize on this trend? The key is to create a BYOD policy that leverages the existing collective investment of your workforce.

A 2013 report from Gartner calls these BYOD strategies “the most radical change to the economics and culture of client computing” in a decade, and “the most radical shift in enterprise client computing since the introduction of the PC.” Gartner went on to list the benefits including “creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction and reducing or avoiding costs.”

That same report predicts that “by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes,” and companies that offer only corporate-liable programs will soon be the exception.

The message to IT departments is clear: BYOD isn’t a passing fad. Get on board or get left behind.

BYOD opportunity for restaurants

Because many restaurants lack high-speed Internet and analytics devices for store managers, they can take the BYOD plunge and leapfrog over difficult Internet deployments and investments in hardware and network infrastructure. It’s one of those rare cases where being a little late to the party actually works to your benefit.

Restaurants that deploy an effective BYOD policy can immediately reap rewards from increased awareness of their customer experience by leveraging mobile applications that provide the latest in customer feedback technologies. They can listen to their customers, respond to service lapses, track employee performance and monitor customer comments using text analytics. All without the manager having to venture into the back room.

For example, if a customer has a bad experience, he or she can take a customer satisfaction survey to review the experience. If the customer rates the business poorly or leaves constructive criticism in the form of a comment, he or she can request a manager to call him or her back to remedy the problem. The store manager is alerted on his or her mobile device, sees the customer’s review, diagnoses the problem using text analytics, calls the customer and logs the result for future analysis. All while managing a shift.