According to a global survey of CIO’s by Gartner Inc. Executive Programmes, by 2016, many companies expect to stop providing client devices (38 percent) to workers. The predicted trend is an outcome of bring your own device (BYOD) programmes advancing across many global organizations.
The study titled ‘Bring Your Own Device: New Opportunities, New Challenges’ seeks to address every aspect of the BYOD strategy and assess cost-efficiency.
The BYOD strategy as defined by Gartner Inc. is;
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
Elaborating further, David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner said;
“BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades. The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs.”
According to the report, BYOD is an innovative tool that facilitates increasing the number of mobile application users in the workforce. The mobility will make rolling out applications an efficient process instead of relying on the traditional communication media. 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,” said Mr. Willis. “Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22% 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.” — David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner
BYOD is a phenomenon most seen among mid-size and large organizations (USD 500 million to USD 5 billion in revenues, with 2,500 to 5,000 employees). The United States has seen BYOD adopted at an increased rate as compared to Europe, for example. Other countries which have welcomed BYOD, include India, China and Brazil.
However, the cost efficiency of employing a BYOD strategy depends upon the effective management of BYOD programmes. An effectively managed BYOD strategy subsidizes the use of a personal device. Today, roughly half of BYOD programmes 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 smartphone,” said Mr. 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.” — David Willis
Although BYOD may boast reduced expenditures, it does possess it’s share of threats. Security is the top concern. The risk of data leakage on mobile platforms is particularly acute. Some mobile devices are designed to share data in the cloud and have no general-purpose file system for applications to share, increasing the potential for data to be easily duplicated between applications and moved between applications and the cloud. In the attempts to combat such a security breach, companies have adopted tools to protect corporate data for enterprise-owned mobile devices.
“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. 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.” — David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner