Corporate BYOD Programs Continue to Gain Popularity
By Ariel Jones
Nearly three-quarters of companies formally support BYOD, and another 19 percent are planning to support the programs in the future, according to the results of a survey conducted by Good Technology. Employees were also more likely to shoulder some of the service costs when their companies' policy supported the use of personal devices for work.
Survey respondents, which included Good Technology customers from across several industries and government sectors, who responded to a preliminary survey in January 2011 provided information about their current BYOD practices and policies, expenditures related to mobile access for employees, and future plans.
Overall, the study results confirm that BYOD approaches are fast becoming the prominent model for enabling employee mobility--phasing out the use of company-distributed devices--and reiterates the need for IT departments to develop policies that ensure compliance and security across all of these employee-owned devices.
How Industries Are Responding to the Consumerization of IT
As expected, a large majority of companies surveyed were already moving away from company-owned devices to employee-owned devices. When broken down by industry (as seen in the following figure), it becomes apparent that the Finance/Insurance industry is leading the way in terms of adopting BYOD programs. Healthcare and Professional Services placed second and third, although there is a large gap between the first and second place.
Local Government and Entertainment/Media were at the bottom of the pack. Federal Government scored similarly, but a portion of those respondents also answered that there were no plans to support BYOD in the future. Overall, 9.3% of respondents expressed no plans of adopting BYOD practices. The unwillingness to consider BYOD, particularly in the government sectors, may arise from concerns about safety and securing private data.
When taking company size into consideration, companies already supporting BYOD policies tended to be large-to-very-large enterprises, with 81% having more than 2,000 employees, nearly 60% having more than 5,000 employees, and 35% having more than 10,000 employees.
To explain this trend, the researchers stated, "It is clear that large-to-very-large companies from the Finance/Insurance and Healthcare industries dominate the overall BYOD picture among Good's customers.... These results are ultimately not surprising since it is the very largest, and most information-driven organizations that will reap the most productivity gains from broad BYOD deployment."
BYOD Costs and Benefits
Among respondents who were already embracing the BYOD philosophy, attitudes towards payment models differed across industry and company size. Fifty percent of those surveyed responded that users paid all device and service plan costs out of pocket; 25% of companies used a stipend to encourage employee participation and help cover costs; 20% allowed eligible employees to expense back mobile services costs; and 5% covered all service plan costs.
Again, as seen in the following figure, the Finance/Insurance industry leads the way in permitting employee-owned devices for business functions, and a majority of those respondents used "user pays" models, without stipends or expense-back programs.
According to Good Technology's survey, the transition to a BYOD approach offers a substantial opportunity for savings. "Based on overall survey responses, Good estimates the broad industry average cost for a company-owned device to be about $80/month," the report states. "Of the surveyed companies supporting BYOD programs, 77% have been able to reduce the percentage of their mobile users using company-owned devices to 60% or less." In addition, 50% have been able to reduce even further to 20% or less.
For those companies who combine a BYOD approach with a stipend program, the levels of employee mobility increase significantly, up to 74%. It is interesting to note, however, that when researchers compared companies offering expense-back options versus those who require employees to pay all costs, there were only slight differences in mobility rates, as seen in the following figure.
The survey did not investigate which types of devices were most popular among employees at these companies, but it did find that mobility increased significantly when employees were permitted to use the device of their choice, and they were willing to pay for that option.