Bring your own device (BYOD) is gaining momentum in the business community. Enabling employees to use the smartphones and tablets they use in their personal lives has many recognised advantages: improved employee satisfaction; reduced training and capital expenditure costs; and access to the latest consumer devices.

Nevertheless, some employers still remain reluctant to embrace the revolution. A recent survey found the biggest barrier for companies transitioning to BYOD is security, with 57% of respondents highlighting it as a key issue.

One recent development and key enabler for the consumerisation of IT in the workplace is custom-made enterprise apps. Sitting as separate applications on an employee’s own device, these allow secure access to company files and systems, without any intrusion into personal information.

For employers, enterprise applications allow them to easily roll out BYOD, while maintaining access control and network security. Simple to deploy and use, an employee downloads the app and this sits on their device alongside all the other apps they may have.

There are several options available for companies looking to provide employees with apps that can be used for business. At one end of the scale, a company may choose to build its own apps, a route that has been taken by professional services giant, Deloitte. These allow the tens of thousands of people that work under the Deloitte brand to access the custom applications that would be available on a desktop, through a smartphone or tablet.

At the other end, organisations that do not have the time or resources to develop their own apps can turn to “off the shelf” solutions, which include many applications businesses have worked with in the office for years, such as Salesforce and SAP.

There is a third option; to build customised apps on top of existing solutions, which feature: a tailored look and feel; specific functionality; configured for IT environments; custom features for partners, dealers, or franchises; and enhanced security features for sensitive or private company data.

This last point is key: companies can create apps that can be disabled instantly in the event of a device being lost or stolen, or if an employee leaves the company.

To distribute these enterprise apps to employees and third parties, many companies, including SAP and Deloitte, have opened their own app stores offering a range of solutions that will improve business operations.

This next generation of software distribution follows the model that has proven so successful in the consumer app world – offering users selection, convenience and great value for money. The SAP Store offers both SAP apps and those from partners.

Enterprise apps are a great way to enable effective BYOD, but they are just one of the options available to organisations looking to empower employees to use their own devices. For those wanting expert advice on how to roll out a BYOD strategy, attending trade events such as IP EXPO is a great way to get all the answers in one place