Invasion Of The Employee-Owned Devices

By  Andrew Borg, Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, Aberdeen Group — February 02, 2010

There's been a fourfold increase in employee-purchased devices used for business purposes. In many cases, workers are choosing to bypass enterprise IT departments entirely to use their own mobile devices for work.
The Four Pillars of Enterprise Mobility in 2010
This series of four articles on the key findings of Aberdeen Group's recent report Enterprise Mobile Strategies 2010: More Mobility, Same Budget is available exclusively for Mobile Enterprise Magazine. For readers of the magazine and members of its online community, the full report is available for complimentary download through March 5, 2010 (a $399 retail value).
Pillar Two -- Managing the Risk: Invasion of Employee-Liable Devices.
In Part 1, we looked at the proliferation of new mobile platforms in the enterprise and their impact on IT infrastructure, support, and overall mobility expense. Here, we'll take a deeper dive into the emerging phenomenon of employee-liable (EL) devices entering the workplace for business use.
In 2008, Aberdeen Group observed a behavioral change that started primarily in the North American market -- there was a fourfold increase in employee-purchased devices used for business purposes, as seen in Figure 1. In many cases, the move to EL devices has been driven by a short-term need to move mobility expense from Capital Expenditure (CapEx) to Operational Expenditure (OpEx) budgets. 
In addition, as employees watch the pace of innovation in consumer mobility technologies accelerate more quickly than those traditionally associated with enterprise mobility, in many cases they are choosing to bypass enterprise IT departments entirely and bring their own mobile devices to work.
Among survey respondents, 73% of organizations indicated that either some or all of their employees are permitted to use individual-liable devices for corporate use. This trend is expected to increase, with 8% of organizations indicating that they expect to allow all employees to use personal devices in the next 12 months.
Only 6% of respondents expect to take the opposite approach, planning to ban the use of individual-liable devices during the same time period.
There are three principal reasons for the proliferation of EL devices in the workplace:
In part due to the economic recession, many companies are seeking to reduce the capital budgets allocated to mobility initiatives by transferring support costs to operational budgets, and the equipment acquisition and carrier access costs to the end user.
Employees are seen as gaining additional productivity through the use of their own mobile devices.
Mobile devices are seen as personal productivity tools that should be chosen by employees based on their individual needs and not necessarily the needs of the larger organization.
As we examined in Part 1, these mobile devices have not standardized on a dominant operating system or hardware platform in the same way that the enterprise computing landscape had done historically. Instead, new and ever-more capable mobile operating systems and software applications emerge several times a year.
This trend is also driven by employee demand (both line-level and executive) to acquire faster, more effective, and more powerful devices.
For a more detailed look at this subject, a free download of the full research report, underwritten by Good Technology, Zenprise and Mobile Enterprise Magazine , is available to Mobile Enterprise readers through March 5, 2010.
In Part 3 of this series, we'll look at how the top performers are managing this potential for enterprise mobility chaos: Pillar Three -- Managing Chaos: the Rise of Mobility Management.
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Andrew Borg is Senior Research Analyst, Wireless & Mobility, at Aberdeen Group.


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