Having a hard time controlling personally-owned tablets and smartphones in the workplace? Get used to it, because a new study claims that 50% of all workers will be required to bring in their tablets and smartphones to work by 2017.
This finding comes from the latest report by analyst firm Gartner, with the company suggesting that the trend is now having a serious impact on business computing.
"BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades," said analyst David Willis. "The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."
Such is the drive towards companies embracing BYOD that Gartner says that over a third (38%) of all companies plan to stop providing devices to workers by 2016.
BYOD is accepted worldwide, but do businesses know what they’re doing?
Advantages aside though and Gartner is concerned that some businesses haven’t really thought if implementing a BYOD strategy is a wise idea.
"The business case for BYOD needs to be better evaluated," said 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.
Gartner adds that BYOD is being embraced by companies and governments of all sizes but says that it’s most prevalent in midsize and larger organizations (typically $500 million to $5 billion in revenue, with 2,500 to 5,000 employees).
Acceptance does vary more geographically though, with the research firm noting that companies in the United States are twice as likely to support BYOD as those in Europe (the least accepting region for BYOD). Employees in India, China and Brazil, meanwhile, are the most likely to use a personal device at work.
Employers are happy to subsidize costs…for now
However, while employees appear to be increasingly comfortable with using their personal devices at work, they’re bound to be less happy with Gartner’s finding on to what extent employers are willing to fund this extra productivity.
The research firm says that while roughly half of all BYOD programs provide partial reimbursement to the employee, full reimbursement will become rare. Furthermore, and as an increasing number of workers are tempted to connect their own devices to corporate servers, Gartner thinks that companies could be bullish enough to cancel subsidies altogether.
IT departments finally confident in tackling BYOD
If that news is likely to bring a smile to the CIO’s face, so too is the finding that enterprise IT teams are eventually more comfortable at managing the influx of smartphones and tablets coming into to the workplace, not least after previous reports from Dell and Ovum hinted at IT "ignorance" in this regard.
Gartner says that while security remains the top concern for enterprise with BYOD, especially when it comes to “data leakage” on mobile devices, IT is finally “catching up" with BYOD.
The report reveals that more than half of organizations now rate themselves highly when it comes to securing corporate data on corporately-owned mobile devices, something Gartner puts down to the availability of new security software.
"We're finally reaching the point where IT officially recognises what has always been going on: People use their business device for non-work purposes," said Willis.
"They often use a personal device in business. Once you realise 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."