As pundits predicted at the start of 2012, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies have been adopted more widely by businesses. More personal mobile devices are being connected to corporate networks and businesses are beginning to encourage employees to use their own machines at work.
The government must recognise the long-term value of BYOD to the wider economy and not let tax become a spanner in the works.
Some have claimed that the tax regime in the UK will make employer-subsidised BYOD unfeasible for businesses. This is based on false assumptions about how such policies would be implemented.
There are, in fact, several factors that will see BYOD yield substantial long-term benefits.
Salary sacrifice schemes will encourage employees to buy their own mobile device and use it at work. This would not be seen as a taxable benefit for either employer or employee, it would be like popular bicycle purchase schemes. BYOD will not become prohibitively expensive due to increasing tax liabilities.
Indeed, the true extent of the benefits of BYOD will only appear over time, and it may well be that the greatest value will arise from aspects of the model that have thus far largely been ignored.
First, it seems logical to suggest that a well-implemented BYOD policy will make employees happier and more productive. Employees who are able to transfer their personal IT preferences into the workplace are likely to be more familiar with the device used and thus happier and more comfortable using it. This suggests they could get more done.
There will be no more missing a key because it is in a different place on the keyboard, and no more cursing the need to use some convoluted workaround to achieve an effect the user finds easy on his or her consumer device.
Contrary to widely expressed opinion, BYOD could reduce the strain on IT service desks, as staff are more likely to take better care of their own device.
Employees are also more likely to troubleshoot their own devices than a company machine. They are likely to be more familiar with how their own devices work and feel more confident about resolving faults or making the most of the functionality available.
Furthermore, BYOD policies will ultimately benefit businesses from an HR perspective. Those that offer employees the flexibility to use their personal mobile devices for work purposes could put themselves in a much stronger position when recruiting and competing for staff.
A salary sacrifice scheme can make BYOD economically viable for organisations. It has enormous potential to make workers happier, more agile, and more productive. This should help companies make more money, and benefit the wider economy.
The government could and arguably should be doing more, perhaps through tax breaks, to provide businesses with the incentives to get on board with BYOD.
Marcus Jewell is UK and Ireland country manager at Brocade
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany
In the wake of yet another lawsuit involving Oracle, we run through 10 of the vendor's biggest court battles
CEO Chuck Robbins says Cisco will use the Catalyst 9000 product range as a template for future launches
Today saw 14 of the UK IT channel's biggest hitters come together to determine the winners of CRN's WiC awards. But what does being a WiC judge actually involve? Doug Woodburn reports