Almost half of all businesses will have adopted a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy by 2016, according to a report by Gartner, with devices like the iPad responsible for much of its uptake.
The research by the analyst house quizzed over 2,000 chief information officers on how they expect to manage the delivery of devices to staff in the coming year. Thirty-eight percent said they expect employees to provide their own smartphones and tablets, and possibly laptops, within four years.
Doing so will enable numerous benefits, the firm claimed: “The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs,” said David Willis, vice president at Gartner.
Willis told V3 that the iPad, unveiled in 2010, had been responsible for much of the growth of BYOD for several factors.
“The iPad caught businesses flat-footed as they didn’t have a corporate version of a tablet for the office and the people using them were executives, so it was hard for IT to say no,”
“As such the adoption rate for BYOD on tablets is much higher in organistaions, with 47 percent offering support, as opposed to 33 percent for smartphones.”
The research found that the majority of BYOD plans are taking place in mid and large organisations, with around 2,500 to 5,000 employees while smaller companies are also starting to embrace the trend given the savings it offers.
However, the report also noted that there are too many firms that are not evaluating the true benefits of BYOD in a manner that enables them to explain to the rest of the business.
"The business case for BYOD needs to be better evaluated," said Willis. "Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22 percent believe they have made a strong business case.
“If you are offering BYOD, take advantage of the opportunity to show the rest of the organisation the benefits it will bring to them and to the business."
Unsurpsingly the main issue for firms remains security, with concerns over data loss and data movements the biggest issue. However, Gartner said most IT leaders are making progress in tackling this issue.
"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."
In summary, Gartner said IT teams need to set clear policies on what platforms will be supported, the service levels that users should expect, where responsibilities lie for security and which staff qualify for subsidies on devices.
V3 covered the BYOD trend in an in-depth report in the last issue of the V3 Tablet App that you can download free via the iTunes store by using your V3 registration login details.
Last week V3 reported that Shell is planning on a giant 135,000 migration to a BYOD policy to help meet the demands of a new generation of workers.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.