BYOD Growth in Emerging Economies Outpaces Established Markets

— November 28, 2012

Employees in high-growth markets are more willing to embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon and the personal productivity benefits of enterprise mobility compared to those in mature markets, according to business technology consulting firm Ovum. Driving this trend is the predisposition of professionals in high-growth markets to "live to work" and the lower rate of corporate provision of mobile handsets and tablets.

As part of the study conducted into employee BYOD behavior and attitudes, a new paper from Ovum reveals that across 17 markets, 57.1% of full-time employees engage in some form of BYOD. Seventy-five percent of respondents in the emerging, "high-growth" markets (including Brazil, Russia, India, UAE, and Malaysia) demonstrate a much higher propensity to use their own devices at work, compared to 44% in more mature markets.

"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 precious about the separation of their work and personal domains," explained Richard Absalom, consumer impact IT analyst at Ovum. "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."

Ovum's research also suggests that employees in high-growth markets see BYOD as way to get ahead in their careers, with 79% expressing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared to 53.5% in mature markets.

A notable anomaly to this trend is Spain, where 62.8% of employees bring their own devices to work – well above the developed market mean. "This could have something to do with the struggling economy: people are willing to use any and all means necessary to get ahead in their jobs, as losing them could be disastrous, given the high rates of unemployment," said Absalom.

For businesses, while it's promising to see IT departments getting to grips with, and encouraging, such behavior in the regions where BYOD behavior is most prevalent, Ovum warns that too much BYOD activity is going unmanaged. Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, 17.7% claim that their employer's IT department does not know, while a further 28.4% of respondents' 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. 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," Absalom added.

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