The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is growing, with an increasing number of organisations enjoying the cost savings and increased productivity BYOD can bring. Yet BYOD organisational polices are lacking, the CIO UK Mobility Strategy survey has found.
There is no denying that BYOD - where employees are bringing their own smartphones, tablets and laptops into the workplace - is growing increasingly popular. However, the CIO UK survey found that 55% of businesses do not have a specific BYOD management policy. This is despite 82% of firms having a mobile strategy in place.
Enterprises are often slow to embrace BYOD because they are concerned about the security implications and complexity it can bring. But as more businesses allow staff to work remotely, BYOD is not going to go away.
Security is seen as the biggest barrier to BYOD: of the survey's respondents, 42% cited it as an obstacle to adoption. Of those respondents without a BYOD strategy, another common factor was the complexity to manage such a policy, with 31% saying this is stopping them from moving to a multiple device environment.
The CIO UK research, carried out in July 2013, surveyed 100 CIOs and IT leaders and gained responses from members of the respected CIO100 list of IT leaders in the UK. The analysis aimed to uncover what kind of mobile strategies are in place within firms and how likely businesses are to adopt new policies around this.
Over 60% of respondents were senior IT leaders, with all coming from an enterprise workplace. While 82% worked in a business with more than 1,000 employees, the remaining 18% were from companies with 500 to 999 staff.
Mobile is infiltrating the workplace; it is in fact central to most modern firms, with tablets and smartphones seen increasingly in the boardroom. But although most companies do have mobility in place, the CIO survey found that 18% of firms do not have a mobility strategy at all, posing questions over how some enterprises are managing this deluge of devices.
Meanwhile, over half of firms said they provide 75% of employees with a mobile device, despite the fact that 55% lack a BYOD policy.
The survey found that the sectors facing the biggest challenge were government and defence, financial services, and retail. These made up the top three sectors of the report accounting for 28% of overall respondents. Close behind were transport and warehousing, manufacturing and construction and engineering services.
However, the survey did uncover a positive attitude to mobile in general, with the majority of businesses realising the benefits that mobile working can bring - such as increased productivity through 'always on' staff. This was apparent from the report, which highlighted key drivers in adopting mobile working including increased efficiency (92%); employee satisfaction (70%); providing better customer service (53%); and reducing costs (47%).
Despite these obvious benefits, mobile devices are not as prevalent as they should be, with only 50% of the workforce using mobile devices as part of their job, according to nearly half of the survey's respondents. Of those, 80% thought that figure would increase during the next year.
Without mobility in place, many businesses are putting themselves - and their data - at risk as users are more likely to leave themselves open to attack. This is even more prevalent when employees are using their own devices, combining business data with personal, accessible, information. However, it is easy to mitigate this risk by using mobile device management tools.
As different and multiple devices infiltrate the workplace, enterprise management systems help to mitigate risks and provide visibility. BlackBerry was the top enterprise mobile device management application. Nearly half of the businesses surveyed (43%) said they used BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. This was followed by Citrix at 16%, Mobile Iron at 11%, Good Technology at 10%, Airwatch also at 10% and SAP at just 4%.
Security conscious businesses who are using mobile in the workplace are increasingly choosing BlackBerry devices too, spurred by its excellent reputation in the enterprise market. As such, the firm continues to be dominant in the sector. According to CIO's survey, BlackBerry was by far the most popular mobile device supported, with 85% of firms saying they support the manufacturer's phones.
It was followed by Apple's iPhone operating system, iOS at 64%, Android at 48% and Windows Phone at 42% of respondents.
According to the survey, top considerations when implementing a mobility strategy include device management and employee productivity. Meanwhile, unified communications and employee satisfaction were seen as less important, reflected by their lower scores.
Mobile is complimentary to fixed line, but it can also be used to replace it, especially in areas with a weak or non-existent connection. This is becoming more prevalent as 4G networks begin to infiltrate the market.
As such, many businesses are considering removing fixed line communications entirely. While nearly half of businesses surveyed flagged this as a strategic imperative, 53% said it was not a priority. This indicates there is still a reliance on fixed line, even though firms do expect increased use of mobile within the organisation.
But with a growing number of employees working remotely, it is advisable to mobilise core applications on business devices to allow access to customer records and workflow applications. According to our survey, businesses are not making information readily available, with 73% of firms saying they had not mobilised core applications on mobile devices. It is likely this reflects security-conscious businesses as well as the added complexity of mobile device management.
While CIOs are seeing the importance of a mobility - such as increased efficiency and security - the BYOD trend is often being ignored. As a growing number of employees bring their own devices into work, connecting with the business network, this is putting many firms at risk which need to be overcome to reap the benefits of a mobile implementation.