Mumbai, May 4, 2013 — Last year’s global push towards employees bringing their own computing or connecting devices to work has consolidated into an unstoppable trend – according to a recent global survey by Gartner. Some 38 percent of companies worldwide, expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016, finds the survey and employees in India, China and Brazil are most likely to be using a personal device, typically a standard mobile phone, at work. Says David Willis, Vice President and distinguished analyst at Gartner: "The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."
Gartner defines a BYOD strategy as an alternative strategy that allows employees, business partners and other users to use a personally selected and purchased client device to execute enterprise applications and access data. It typically spans smartphones and tablets, but the strategy may also be used for PCs. It may or may not include a subsidy. BYOD drives innovation for CIOs and the business by increasing the number of mobile application users in the workforce. Rolling out applications throughout the workforce presents myriad new opportunities beyond traditional mobile email and communications. Applications such as time sheets, punch lists, site check-in/check-out, and employee self-service HR applications are just a few examples. Expanding access and driving innovation will ultimately be the legacy of the BYOD phenomenon.
"However, the business case for BYOD needs to be better evaluated", adds Willis, "Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22 percent believe they have made a strong business case. Like other elements of the Nexus of Forces (cloud, mobile, social and information), mobile initiatives are often exploratory and may not have a clearly defined and quantifiable goal, making IT planners uncomfortable. If you are offering BYOD, take advantage of the opportunity to show the rest of the organization the benefits it will bring to them and to the business."
BYOD permits smaller companies to go mobile without a huge device and service investment. Adoption varies widely across the globe.
Today, roughly half of BYOD programs provide a partial reimbursement, and full reimbursement for all costs will become rare. Gartner believes that coupling the effect of mass market adoption with the steady declines in carrier fees, employers will gradually reduce their subsidies and as the number of workers using mobile devices expands, those who receive no subsidy whatsoever will grow.
"The enterprise should subsidize only the service plan on a smart phone”, suggests Willis, "What happens if you buy a device for an employee and they leave the job a month later? How are you going to settle up? Better to keep it simple. The employee owns the device, and the company helps to cover usage costs."
"We're finally reaching the point where IT officially recognizes what has always been going on: People use their business device for non work purposes”, concludes Willis, "They often use a personal device in business. Once you realize that, you'll understand you need to protect data in another way besides locking down the full device. It is essential that IT specify which platforms will be supported and how; what service levels a user should expect; what the user's own responsibilities and risks are; who qualifies; and that IT provides guidelines for employees purchasing a personal device for use at work, such as minimum requirements for operating systems."
Source: "Bring Your Own Device: The Facts and the Future." http://www.gartner.com/resId=2422315 .