BYOD Is a Win-Win When It's User-Centric: Study
Taking a User-Centric Approach to BYOD
For the report "BYOD: Putting Users First Produces Biggest Gains, Fewest Setbacks," nearly 1,500 IT heads in 10 countries were interviewed. Researchers found that companies that treated BYOD as a strategic advantage, rather than as a headache, "were able to resolve some of the biggest BYOD problems, including security, access rights and data leakage."
Approaches to BYOD Vary by Region
The report describes organizations as mature (those well into a BYOD deployment) or immature (those just beginning or yet to form one). It found 17 percent worldwide to be considered mature, though in the United States, 38 percent were in that camp. While 10 percent of organizations overall said they discipline against BYOD, in Germany, it was 29 percent.
Practices of Mature Organizations
Organizations with mature BYOD policies actively manage and support "any devices that users wish to use." The report found them to be "setting the bar for their competitors."
What Does BYOD Mean to Your Organization? Answer A
Eleven percent of organizations answered: "employees wanting to use their tablets." These were generally immature organizations.
What Does BYOD Mean to Your Organization? Answer B
The most sophisticated response, chosen by 32 percent of organizations, was that BYOD is "about much more than managing devices—it's about users, how they do their jobs and the degree to which organizations empower them to achieve maximum productivity—regardless of device or location."
More Important to Manage Users Than Devices
Among respondents, 44 percent said they believe managing devices is most important, while 56 said managing the user/user identity is most important. U.S. organizations were least likely to choose device over user, while in Germany, a majority put devices ahead of users.
Getting Left Behind
Fifty-nine percent of organizations said that without BYOD, they could fall behind their competitors. Interestingly, that 59 percent included the group of 38 percent who discipline against BYOD. "This raised the idea that if they fear they'll get left behind, they must recognize the benefit of BYOD and just don't know how to manage their way into it," the report suggested.
BYOD as Catalyst for Improvement
BYOD can be a catalyst for improvement and success for those that serve their users and understand their specific needs and roles. Among those with a user-centric BYOD policy, 75 percent agreed that "BYOD can only deliver massive gains if they can understand the specific needs of each user."
Understanding User Needs
To understand the needs of individuals, said the report, organizations need to manage the identities of their user base so that each person's data and applications are delivered the moment they log in, no matter the person's location or device.
Focus on Serving the User
By serving the user rather than focusing on devices, organizations can benefit in areas including data security, increased productivity and customer satisfaction and retention. Nearly 70 percent of organizations said that BYOD better helps them meet the needs of their customers.
Organizations in Beijing, the only region of China represented in the study, reported the highest levels of agreement regarding the potential corporate gains from IT. In Beijing, at least 78 percent of the organizations said corporations could benefit from BYOD. Overall, 64 percent of companies overall said they believed BYOD could help reduce costs.
A "huge" benefit of a user-focused approach is employee morale, said the report, and good morale contributes in a big way to organizational performance. Overall, 65 percent of organizations said BYOD can help them attract and retain talent; among those with a user-centric approach, that number was 83 percent.
The Role of IT
When asked whether BYOD has or could change the IT culture of a company, 56 percent said yes. That business could be affected isn't necessarily a bad thing, said the report. It offers IT the possibility to "change from being perceived as a deterrent to becoming an enabler to the business."
IT vs. Business Needs
When asked what business needs but IT can't deliver, the top answers were, respectively, more access to data in real time, more access to data from mobile devices, and technology that allows people across the organization to better collaborate. Ninety-two percent of IT heads said business managers want things IT can't deliver, "a lot of which involve BYOD," said the report.
The three most commonly reported BYOD-related challenges were abuse of policies, theft or loss of devices, and a lack of control over which applications or data are used on devices.
Business Pain Points
When asked what businesses would like to be able to do but can't currently, the top answer was to "deliver applications to users based on their role." The list of responses, said the report, suggests that for BYOD to deliver on all it's capable of, gaps in company policies need to be addressed.
BYOD Winners and Losers
BYOD has made organizations more agile and mobile, increased productivity and made them better able to address customer requests. Those embracing BYOD with an open mind are, the report found, "experiencing fewer problems with BYOD and also experiencing more benefits—a win-win situation for those out in front."