Choose your own device the better BYOD policy?

While it is widely accepted, that ‘Bring Your Own Device’ would present some challenges for IT managers in certain companies, it appears in the United Kingdom, companies are choosing ‘Choose Your Own Device’(CYOD) at twice the rate of adoption for bring your own device, according to research conducted by Shape the future and commissioned by Azzurri Communications. Despite the buzz around bring your own device (BYOD), less than 10% of employees was actually allowed to connect their devices to corporate networks. In addition a mere 17% of companies bothered to introduce a full BYOD policy.

It would appear that businesses are more comfortable with workers choosing devices from an approved corporate list, rather than bringing one in from home. While this is understandable, employees as private consumers may actually shell out for the more expensive hardware, that can benefit the enterprise with the right policies in place. But ‘Choose Your Own Device’ may very well offer many of the benefits of BYOD without some of the drawbacks. Usually the organization owns the SIM contract, but lets employees choose their own hardware.

With the growth of the ‘always on, always connected’ work culture, the adoption of Smartphones, tablets and notebooks that facilitate the trend is also growing. Forrester predicts that in two years’ time, 350 million workers will use Smartphones, 200 million of whom will take their own devices in the workplace. It is estimated that 90 percent of organizations will have to support BYOD by 2014. Perhaps bring your own device is currently viewed as a free for all situation and IT managers have figured that it’s easier to retain more control over their IT estate with CYOD.

Though CYOD strategies may mean less freedom for employees and may not provide the high staff-satisfaction rates reported for BYOD, they can prevent IT managers from feeling overburdened while still providing the desired functionality, mobility and flexibility. “Despite all the puff and the promise of BYOD, the evidence shows that adoption is far lower than the hype would lead us to believe, said Rufus Grig, CTO of study sponsor Azzurri Communications.

Expressing concern over the expansion of responsibilities of the IT manager brought about by the advent of the BYOD trend, Mr Hardeep Singh Garewal, Europe President, ITC Infotech, commented “With the huge range of tablets, Smartphones, operating systems and platforms available, it is no wonder that IT managers are feeling overwhelmed. Windows, iOS, Blackberry RIM, Android and the growing list of other operating systems pose a real challenge for organizations to provision all necessary business applications across all these platforms. By limiting the number of options available to the staff, this complexity can be reduced significantly without losing the benefits of increased staff mobility, higher job satisfaction and improvement in efficiency and productivity.”

In July, HMRC trialed its own choose your own device policy. It also trialed a system in which any PC could connect to its corporate network in an attempt to drive down desktop IT costs along with commodity hardware. Going forward most companies will have to deal with the challenge of having applications and devices working seamlessly across different operating systems, as well as the challenge of smaller form factor devices being introduced into the work environment while striving to maintain the required governance standards. Choose your own device appears to be the solution most IT decision-makers are going to prefer.

Image credit via nouveaublog

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