Recent research demonstrates some of the quantifiable benefits and complexities associated with allowing employees to use their own mobile devices on their employers' networks.
Most CIOs encourage BYOD throughout their enterprise. As many as 95% report saying their organizations permit employee-owned devices in some way, shape or form in the workplace.
In addition, the average number of connected devices per knowledge worker is expected to reach 3.3 by 2014. This is up from an average of 2.8 in 2012.
CIOs on a daily basis hear from employees who wish to to bring their own devices into the office to use for work.
For CIOs this means funding an internal or outsourced help desk that can support the full range of devices including iPhones, Android-based smartphones, iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, which allow employees to use their personal wireless devices such as smartphones and tablets for work activities, represents a radical shift in the economics of client computing.
The news is not all warm and fuzzy as various research reports from numerous surveys and studies suggest that while BYOD adoption continues to grow, IT departments are struggling to adequately manage security and protect sensitive corporate data.
IT managers are balancing security and support concerns with the very real potential to reap significant cost and productivity benefits from the BYOD trend. Research has shown that BYOD is just the gateway to greater business benefits.
According to recent research from Gartner for example, the majority of IT leaders are warming to the BYOD concept. In August 2012, Gartner produced another report that includes advice and data to address every aspect of implementing a BYOD strategy, including costs, user contracts, and policies.
Here are some of the selected highlights from that report.
1. Mobility is a growing trend among knowledge workers as more than half of U.S. adults own a smartphone and they wish to use them to be more efficient at work - mostly because the device put them in their comfort zone.
2. Gartner suggest that in years past there was a strong distinction between enterprise-grade and consumer-grade devices. Nowadays, not so much. These product similarities have helped BYOD thrive.
3. Gartner advises IT to work with both human resources and the legal department to manage BYOD policies and enforcement.
4. Interestingly, the report also noted that while BYOD programs have the potential to reduce costs, they often do not. Mobile workers can incur expensive data-roaming charges, while the drive to deliver ever more capability to the mobile device, the costs of software, infrastructure, personnel support and related services will increase over time. The inclusion of file-sharing platforms, business applications and tools will increase IT operations costs even further.
5. While companies are working to control security and monitor data access, organizations need to be aware of the legal implications involved in tracking personal devices on a corporate network.