Report: Nearly 50 Percent of Businesses Gave Employees Tablets in 2011

By Jessica Binns, Contributing Editor — June 04, 2012

International Data Corporation (IDC) announced a new report, A Practical Guide to a Mobile Strategy: Results from IDC's Mobile Benchmark Study, designed to address the most pressing questions facing IT executives with regard to their mobile device policies, adoption of tablets, and mobile application development costs and practices. The goal of the study, based on responses from CIOs and IT professionals in the United States and Europe, is to provide IT organizations with insight into how their peers have addressed similar mobility issues.

According to the survey, corporate-liable devices still prevail with 77 percent of respondents' organizations providing corporate-liable smartphones to their employees and 49 percent providing tablets in 2011. Of these corporate-liable devices, 70 percent were purchased by the organization and issued to the employees while only 7 percent were purchased by the employee with full or partial reimbursement.

Additional highlights from IDC's Mobile Benchmark Study include:

  • Employees in executive, sales, IT, and marketing job functions are more often issued a smartphone over other functions within an organization.
  • For corporate-liable smartphones, most organizations (73 percent) pay the entire mobile service bill (voice and data) directly to the mobile service provider. Similarly, 71 percent of organizations pay the entire mobile service plan for corporate-liable tablets.
  • To mitigate risk and support costs of letting employees bring their own devices, 45 percent of the respondents provide limited IT help desk support for business applications on individual-liable smartphones, while 42 percent report they provide limited IT help desk support for business applications on individual-liable tablets. In both cases, hardware issues are relayed back to the mobile service provider. In 33 percent of the organizations surveyed, no support is provided for individual-liable smartphones and 44 percent of respondents reported no support for individual-liable tablets.
Surprisingly, a high percent of respondents reported they expect tablets will be a second device to the laptop/desktop. The notion that tablets would be treated as second devices to laptops and refreshed every 2.5 years will be costly for IT organizations in the long run. IDC estimates it will cost the average large organization an additional 1 percent of their IT budget every year just to refresh the tablets alone.

"Many IT organizations are currently working through their mobile device strategy and policy issues. To be successful, IDC recommends that IT executives establish a governance committee including finance, HR, and Legal to outline a comprehensive Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy, including use policies and cost allocation methods," said Meredith Whalen, senior vice president, IT Executive & Industry Research, IDC. "Most importantly, we recommend IT executives identify the costs associated with developing and supporting multiple mobile platforms, and apply a governance strategy to mobile application development efforts to ensure projects are prioritized based on the highest value add to the enterprise."

IDC's Mobile Benchmark Study was designed to address the biggest questions IT executives are facing around their mobile device policies, including tablet adoption and mobile application development costs and practices. The goal of this study is to provide IT organizations with insight into how their peers have addressed similar mobility issues. The study surveyed 52 CIOs and senior IT professionals in the U.S. and Europe during the months of September 2011 and November 2011.

To learn more about IDC's Mobile Benchmark Study, please watch this video.

For further information, email insights@idc.com.

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