BYOD Is Here to Stay, So a Clear Strategy Is Needed

by Granville Triumph

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is here to stay, according to IT analyst firm Ovum, as it reveals the findings of its 2013 multi-market BYOX (Bring Your Own Anything) employee study. With corporate BYOD activity by full-time employees (FTEs) remaining steady at almost 60 percent over the past two years, Ovum analysts warn business leaders to respond and adapt now to this change in employee behavior, rather than being steamrollered by it.

Launching the research at its BYOX World Forum in London, Ovum revealed that the BYOX phenomenon shows no signs of disappearing, as nearly 70 percent of employees who own a smartphone or tablet choose to use it to access corporate data. The personal tablet market continues to grow, and with personal tablet ownership by FTEs rising from 28.4 percent to 44.5 percent over the last 12 months, more businesses will see these devices on their networks.

Moreover, this activity will continue whether the CIO wants it to or not. Ovum’s study shows that 67.8 percent of smartphone-owning employees bring their own smartphone to work, and 15.4 percent of these do so without the IT department’s knowledge and 20.9 percent do so in spite of an anti-BYOD policy.

“Trying to stand in the path of consumerized mobility is likely to be a damaging and futile exercise,” says Richard Absalom, consumer impact technology analyst at Ovum. “We believe businesses are better served by exploiting this behavior to increase employee engagement and productivity, and promote the benefits of enterprise mobility.”

Ovum’s research also depicts the rise of the BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) trend. While email and calendar remains the most commonly used application on both corporately provisioned and personally owned devices, the usage of new-generation cloud productivity applications, such as enterprise social networking, file sync and share and IM/VoIP, is growing fast. Worryingly, Ovum found that these types of apps are increasingly being sourced by employees themselves and not through managed corporate channels – 25.6 percent of employees discovered their own enterprise social networking apps, while 22.1 percent and 30.7 percent of employees discovered their own file sync and share apps and IM/VoIP apps, respectively.

“The thread that runs through all of the data is that IT is not keeping up with the changing demands and behavior patterns of the new mobilized, consumerized workforce. Nowhere is this clearer than in the BYOA data. If employees are sourcing their own applications to do their job, then IT is not delivering the right tools or a good enough user experience for its employees,” concludes Absalom.

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