BYOD Program Adoption Faster in Emerging Markets: Ovum

Businesses are the globe are allowing more employee devices in the workplace, but the trend is accelerating in emerging markets, Ovum’s report found.

The bring your own device trend is changing employee attitudes toward career advancement, and BYOD is gaining ground in emerging, high-growth markets--including Brazil, Russia, India, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia--according to a study commissioned by IT consulting firm Ovum and conducted by Logicalis.

According to the study of 3,796 consumers in 17 different countries, employees in high-growth markets see BYOD as way to get ahead in their careers, with 79 percent believing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared with 53.5 percent in mature markets. In all 17 markets, 57.1 percent of full-time employees said they engage in some form of BYOD.

One statistical anomaly the research found concerned Spain, which is considered a developed economy but a market in which 62.8 percent of employees bring their own devices to work--well above the developed market mean. Ovum concluded that due to the particularly high unemployment rate in Spain, where more than 25 percent of the overall population is out of work, those who are employed are desperate to do anything they can to improve their productivity in the hope of hanging on to their jobs.

"Employees in high-growth, emerging economies are demonstrating a more flexible attitude to working hours, and are happy to use their own devices for work. However, in mature markets, employees have settled into comfortable patterns of working behavior and are more [cautious] about the separation of their work and personal domains," said Richard Absalom, Ovum consumer impact IT analyst. "This bifurcation in behavior will shape not just future patterns of enterprise mobility in high-growth markets compared to mature markets, but also dictate which markets, structurally, are going to benefit most from this revolution in how and where we work."

The survey also indicated too much BYOD activity is going unmanaged, suggesting IT departments need to improve their monitoring and security capabilities when it comes to mobile management. Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, 17.7 percent claim that their employers' IT departments do not know, while a further 28.4 percent of respondents said their IT departments actively ignore it is happening.

"Unmanaged BYOD creates a great data-security risk, and the implications of losing sensitive data via a personally owned device can be dire from financial, reputational and legal perspectives," Absalom said. "Every business must understand the behavior of its own employees, which, as we have seen, is likely to be influenced by its location, and manage it according to its risk profile."