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The BYOD Gap

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What’s the state of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in your organization?

When I ask this of our customers I get replies aligning with industry research and other anecdotal evidence pointing to what I call the BYOD gap.

Business units are adopting BYOD – along with mobile apps and consumer-grade cloud services – pretty much as fast as they can, but too often such adoption is unsanctioned by their IT departments; there is no BYOD policy.

In the shadows

It’s a sizable gap, too: by some reports, almost 90% of employees use their own devices at work – but only about 40% of enterprises have committed to implementing BYOD policies, procedures, and infrastructure.

This is classic Shadow IT, and it’s on a scale unlike anything since the 1980s when corporate business units defied their IT departments to acquire PCs. It took mainframe-obsessed IT staff a good long time to grasp that forbidding PCs was a supreme waste of time, because whenever business unit managers find tools enabling them to boost productivity and achieve better results, they are enthusiastically embraced whether IT likes it or not. 

The BYOD payoff…

When it comes to BYOD, it’s not hard to understand such enthusiasm. After all, the benefits of BYOD are mighty powerful.

For instance, the average US BYOD-er saves 81 minutes each week, according to one analysis. BYOD has made many employees ‘hyperproductive’ – more than a third save at least two hours per week, and one in five saves at least four hours per week. More than half have boosted their productivity by using their own devices to innovate entirely new ways of working.

…Poses plenty of risks

Trouble is, BYOD that’s not supported by appropriate IT policies, procedures, and infrastructure can get your enterprise into all sorts of trouble.

Security risks abound. For example, some 15% of employees have accessed sensitive data via unapproved devices and while only 15% of companies allow consumer-grade cloud services, 58% of employees use them anyway.

There are other risks too, notably those related to regulatory compliance and the complexities of assuring performance and resilience in IT infrastructures coping with new devices, apps, services, and other technologies.

Catching up

Clearly, enterprises need to close this BYOD gap between business units and IT departments, and fast. The good news is that IT-sanctioned BYOD offers even greater payoffs, and it can be accomplished without breaking the IT bank. In my next post, I’ll lay out how to do that.

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