Enterprises Are Embracing BYOD, Not Resisting It

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An Avanade survey finds that IT administrators and business executives are embracing the dual ideas of the consumerization of IT and BYOD. The resistance to these charges is a "myth."

The idea that IT professionals and business leaders are resisting the consumerization of IT and the trend of bringing your own device (BYOD) to work is myth. On the contrary, more and more people are embracing these notions and trying to incorporate them into the workday, according to a recent study.

Several recent reports have indicated that organizations are still resisting consumerization of IT or are just beginning to allow employees to use their personal devices at work. However, that may not be the case, as most organizations are embracing the trend and have already figured out ways to incorporate it within the business, according to a Jan. 25 study by Avanade.

Approximately 60 percent of companies are adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate employees' personal devices instead of restricting how employees can use them, Avanade found. Nearly 90 percent of the business leaders said they are aware that employees are already using personal technology for work purposes, and 65 percent of C-level executives in the survey consider the growing use of employee-owned technology as a top priority in their organization.

"Despite the notion that business leaders are resisting the shift, we found that companies are investing in staff and resources to enable the consumerization of IT and have many of the resources that are needed today," said Tyson Hartman, Avanade's global chief technology officer.

Avanade's findings directly contradict a finding in a recent Cisco Systems study that found nearly half of the IT managers and executives polled would never let employees use their own devices for work purposes.

"Progressive CIOs and IT organizations have moved from gatekeepers of consumer technology to enablers of these innovative devices, applications and services to meet employee needs and demands," Hartman said.

Avanade's survey also found that 91 percent of C-level executives and 75 percent of IT leaders said their IT department has the staff and resources needed to manage the growing number of consumer devices within the organization. The survey reflected another finding that contrasted other reports: 62 percent of IT executives and 84 percent in the C-suite told Avanade that it is not too difficult to integrate employee-owned devices, applications and online services with enterprise IT systems.

In fact, 60 percent of the respondents in the survey said they were already adapting their IT infrastructure to accommodate these consumer technologies. On average, organizations are allocating at least a quarter of their IT budgets to manage IT consumerization efforts.

Companies view the consumerization trend as a way to improve how people work, Hartman said. Allowing employees to have access to enterprise resources from anywhere has translated into actual productivity, the survey found. Over half of the C-level executives said the ability for their employees to work from anywhere had the greatest impact on the company. About 42 percent said employees were more willing to work after hours.

Employees are using consumer devices to access enterprise applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and time and expense tracking, Avanade found.

That's not to say the respondents in Avanade's survey didn't see any security risks with allowing personal devices. Two-thirds of executives considered security as the main risk, while a little over a third were concerned about unmanaged data. A little over half of the respondents reported experiencing at least one security breach due to a personal device. The breach is usually the result of a lost USB drive or laptop, according to Avanade.

An earlier Cisco report found that many companies feel that letting employees bring their own devices makes them more attractive as a prospective employer among younger workers. In contrast, only 20 percent of executives in Avanade's survey said allowing personal technologies had any impact on recruitment and employee retention.

There have also been a lot of reports about Apple devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, paving the way for consumer devices in the workplace. However, Avanade found that the most popular consumer-owned devices being used in the enterprise are Android and BlackBerry smartphones, as well as Apple laptops.

Avanade's global survey included 605 C-level executives, IT decision-makers and business unit leaders across 17 countries in North America, Europe, South America and Asia.


To read the original eWeek article, click here: Enterprises Are Embracing BYOD, Not Resisting It: Study