Employees expected to bring own devices to work

Analyst firm Gartner predicts businesses will stop providing mobiles and tablets with 50% of workers expected to bring their own devices by 2017

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The acceptance of bring your own device (BYOD) in the workplace will lead to employers expecting their staff to provide their own technology.

This was the prediction of analyst firm Gartner, which today claimed 38% of companies believed they would stop providing devices to workers by 2016, rising to half of all firms by 2017.

The findings came from a survey of CIOs from companies across the globe and although BYOD primarily referred to the provision of smartphones and tablets, Gartner said in some cases it could extend to laptops or PCs.

By adopting BYOD programmes, CIOs said employees would be driven to use more applications, especially for mobiles, meaning the likes of timesheets, clocking in and other HR services could be put in the hands of the staff member.

"BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades," said David Willis, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. 

"The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."

However, he claimed the business case for BYOD needed to be better evaluated.

"Most leaders do not understand the benefits and only 22% believe they have made a strong business case,” added Willis. 

“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 organisation the benefits it will bring to them and to the business."

Although BYOD is primarily the type of project taken on by large firms, Gartner said it offered opportunities for smaller companies to go mobile without incurring large costs.

Willis did warn employers to think hard about how much they subsidised any programme.

"The organisation should subsidise only the service plan on a smartphone," he said. "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."

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Security is crucially avoided in this article. How will valuable data from the organisation that is transferred onto an unprotected phone be safe from cyber attacks?

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BYOD is seems fine until you assess the cost to the owner.. how many Tablet owners would agree to use their own devices if they themselves are responsible for the support and repair/replace plans they'll need if the BYOD device fails? Today its simply a matter of switching to the "company PC" while you assess if you want to repair/replace/upgrade or switch platforms.. tomorrow the company PC isn't there anymore but you still have deadlines and appointments to meet that require non-stop functionality... Is easier if the "corporate device and storage" is virtual and your BYOD is simply the access method to that device making set-up a lot faster but its still a worry.

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