BYOD increases productivity, but IT departments need to be prepared

Employees who are offered bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives and input into IT decisions are more productive, according to research.

Employees who are offered bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives and input into IT decisions are likely to be more productive in the workplace, according to research.

Also known as the consumerisation of IT, such flexibility may enhance productivity and morale, but could also add extra pressures on an organisation’s IT department, suggested the global study from Dell and Intel.

“Today’s businesses need a smarter, more mobile approach,” said Fergus Murphy, marketing director, client solution, Dell Europe. “If an organisation wishes to remain in a very competitive market, it needs to open its mind and broaden its perspectives.”

The Evolving Workforce Research report found that nearly 60% of employees feel work would be more enjoyable if they had a say in the technologies they used, while 60% feel they would be more productive with better IT resources.

The report also suggested that 40% of workers already have the ability to influence the technology choices in their organisations, which Dell expects to rise to 55% in the future.

Murphy added that a fully-fledged choice is not sensible for all sectors and enterprises, but there should be a conscious effort to look into this, rather than ignoring it.

However, there is a worry that IT leaders could also lose control, with 43% of respondents believing the consumerisation of IT would make it difficult to protect an organisation’s data and intellectual property.

“Practices will need to be put into place and there will be a need for transparency in respect to IT decisions,” said Murphy. “Or the consumerisation of IT could back-fire.”

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Furthermore, over a third of employees believe their employer monitors how they are spending their time during their day. This leads to further problems for IT leaders who wish to monitor productivity, while keeping morale high in the workplace.

“There is no solution for employers to measure productivity yet,” said Murphy “But typically they will need a more sophisticated system to help monitor productivity which will require some investment.”

The research also found that almost half of employees around the world wish to use their own devices for work and personal use, with the desire being stronger in developing countries such as Mexico (73%), China (67%) and India (64%) as they are able to be more flexible, while markets like the UK lag behind.

“In the UK there are a lot more [legacy] infrastructures to overcome, so it will take longer to take advantage of the consumerisation of IT,” said Murphy.

The likelihood of organisations allowing employees to choose their technology is more prevalent in the private sector (45%) than the public sector (32%). Small businesses are also in a better position to offer a choice (49%), than large enterprises (36%).

"There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Murphy. “The ideal scenario is that businesses have a conscious effort to identify and pursue the consumerisation of IT and have an open mind to what it can do.”

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