Some 38 per cent of companies around the world asked by Gartner have indicated they expect to stop providing devices to their staff by 2016.
The figure comes from a global survey of CIOs as part of Gartner's executive research programme, and suggests that BYOD will soon represent much more than just an expansion of choice for employees. Organisations that only offer corporate-liable device programmes will soon be the exception, Gartner said in its related announcement.
David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said BYOD strategies are proving the most radical change to the economics and culture of business client computing for decades.
"The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs," he added.
Gartner's research indicates that employers are likely to begin reducing their subsidy offer to staff, even for smartphones. There were several reasons for this, he suggested.
"The organisation should subsidise only the service plan on a smartphone," Willis said. "What happens if you buy a device for an employee and he or she leaves the job a month later? How are you going to settle up? Better to keep it simple. The employee owns the device, and the company helps to cover usage costs."
BYOD increases risks and changes expectations for CIOs and security remains a top concern. Data can easily leak from mobile platforms, especially as some mobile devices are designed basically to share data in the cloud by default, often incorporating no general-purpose file system for applications to share, the announcement said.
This increases the possibility for data to be copied easily between applications and moved between applications and the cloud, Gartner said.
Meanwhile, BYOD also "drives innovation for CIOs", said Gartner, by increasing mobile app users, and offering new opportunities such as time sheets, punch lists, site check-in, and self-service HR as well as mobile communication.
Willis warned however that the business case should be looked at more carefully than many firms appear to be doing.
"Most leaders do not understand the benefits, and only 22 per cent believe they have made a strong business case. Like other elements of the nexus of forces – cloud, mobile, social and information – mobile initiatives are often exploratory and may not have a clearly defined and quantifiable goal, making IT planners uncomfortable.
"If you are offering BYOD, take advantage of the opportunity to show the rest of the organisation the benefits it will bring to them and to the business," he said.
Currently BYOD is most prevalent in mid-size and large organisations turning over $500m to $5bn a year, with 2,500 to 5,000 staff, and US firms are "twice as likely" to allow BYOD as those in Europe. However, it also permits SMBs to become more mobile without investing enormously in hardware and services.
"We are finally reaching the point where IT officially recognises what has always been going on: People use their business device for non-work purposes," said Willis. "They often use a personal device in business. Once you realise that, you will understand you need to protect data in another way besides locking down the full device."
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