BYOX & Empowerment

We were in Melbourne a few years ago and came upon the convenient Bring Your Own (BYO) practice at many restaurants where you are free to bring your own bottle. One didn’t have to research and call restaurants on whether you could take your own bottle; you simply check if the restaurant advertised BYO; no corkage fees that far exceed the price of the wine; no evil glances from the waitstaff for not having ordered from the wine list. It was refreshing. It was liberating. The ongoing discussions in IT about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) remind me of the BYOB practice Down Under.

BYO: God, Bottle, and Device

Various BYOs have existed in our world for a long time. Some are well known; some are not; some have divine significance beyond a useful dining convenience. The three below are a study in contrast.

BYO: God, Bottle, Device

First of all, this tells us that BYO practices are not all about technology. Let us look at Bring Your Own God (BYOG) closely. BYOG has existed as long as gods have existed in various cultures. There is a panoply of them to choose from. In much of human history, even when one regime conquered another, the vanquished were often allowed to keep their gods, at least as long as it suited the conquerors. BYOG is perhaps the oldest recognized BYO. Nowhere else is BYOG codified better than in the US constitution where religious freedom and promise against discrimination on religious grounds is a celebrated right. So what is common between BYOG, BYOB and BYOD? Let’s get back to IT and business for an inventory.

BYO Incarnations

Let’s look at more variations of BYO to see any pattern behind the BYO phenomenon and the universal driver behind it. Here are some manifestations of BYO in alphabetical order:

  • BYOA: Bring Your Own App. Use any App you prefer, not a new concept that smart phones introduced. People use Thunderbird, Outlook, or Mac Mail for e-mail; Firefox or Chrome for browser. In the ’80s and before various mail programs were used on Unix like elm or pine.
  • BYOB: The most commonplace of all BYOs is a bottle of beer or wine. Please, nothing stronger.
  • BYOBag: Or pay for bags at check-out. A green initiative to ensure that we aren’t filling up landfills.
  • BYOBB: Broadband access paid by employees to access corporate internet and do more work away from the office.
  • BYOC: Content. Movies, music etc that you own available to you from anywhere on any device like iTunes Match service that lets you do this for an annual fee.
  • BYOC: How about computer? Will employers not stop issuing laptop or desktop computers to employees and expect them to get a computing device of their choice soon? This is a subset of BYOD then.
  • BYOD: Device. The current trend that brought BYO notion to the forefront in technology and business.
  • BYOD: Disc. Same as content. See how vudu offers converting your DVD to digital for easy access.
  • BYOD: Disk. Your storage drives hosted at your cloud service provider
  • BYOG : Bring Your Own God. A sublime BYO articulated in the First Amendment of the US constitution. Mother of all BYOs perhaps. The key drivers behind it are fascinating.
  • BYOIT: Bring your own IT (or parts of it) If you want services beyond what is offered by your employer’s IT department, go to a cloud services provider? Go rogue at your own risk. Yes, BYO-Risk while you are at it.
  • BYOL: License. License we have for software that can be used to run that software on a computer likely not owned & operated by us. License portability is a big deal in these days of cloud computing. Think of running software that is licensed to you on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This also applies to licensed content. Hence, similar to BYOC.
  • BYOR: Bring Your Own Rights. Rights to content such as music or video that grants us ways to access that content from any device, anywhere. Could be rights to software license too. BYOR encompasses BYO-License and BYO-Content. Beyond digital rights, this has a whole other significance of personal rights that encompasses even BYOG (“right to worship” or not).

What example of BYOX did I miss?

BYOX is about Empowerment

Suffices it to say that BYO is not some iDevice or Android device induced consumerization of IT. It is more fundamental than that. It is in an 18th century document written by a few Christians of various denominations with an astounding sense of idealism and sense of equality that one can only marvel at. BYOX is about choice. It is about empowerment. With it comes satisfaction (not to mention the pursuit of happiness of our own making!). In corporations, policies that promote BYOD targets employee productivity as well as cost-savings when the onus of device procurement, management, and ownership is transferred to employees.

I can’t ask for a BYO that is nobler or more godly than BYOG. I have a humble request though. It is time Amazon offered me BYOB, Bring Your Own Book, as part of Amazon Prime subscription, so that I can access any book I own on Kindle without carrying about physical books – a Kindle Match service like iTunes Match.

Hari Harikrishnan

Hari Harikrishnan

Digital Business Transformer
As a digital business executive, Hari is passionate about creating and modernizing businesses by infusing data and technology in product and service portfolios. Hari has led businesses from startups to enterprise incubations to Fortune 100 business divisions.

Hari has commercialized numerous products and services in industries ranging from healthcare to high-tech to manufacturing. His career spans leadership roles in general management, product, marketing, services, and strategy.

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