By Ed Holden, Editor, Manufacturing & Logistics IT.
We have been hearing quite a lot over the past year or two about Choose-Your-Own-Device (CYOD) – where the organisation owns the SIM/contract, but allows employees to choose their own device – and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – a mobile device policy that allows employees to connect their personal smartphones and/or tablets to the organisation’s network. In the case of the latter option, some business-to-business mobile device manufacturers or distributors have argued that such devices designed primarily for the consumer marketplace can offer up a number of problems, including lack of ruggedness resulting in easy breakage, unattractive warranty packages in many cases compared with those offered by business/industry device suppliers, and the possibly lack of adequate security, which within the business environment can prove to be a very costly shortcoming.
In addition to the two deployment models above, let’s not forget that there is of course the more traditional organisation-owned device policy, sometimes referred to as Don’t Bring Your Own Device (DBYOD) – whereby device choice and ownership is strictly controlled by the employer. So, in the real world, what is the current state of play with regard to the use of mobile devices at work? According to an independent study of ICT decision makers conducted by Shape the Future (commissioned by Azzurri Communications)*, CYOD is currently regarded as the most appropriate strategy for meeting organisations’ communications needs in both practice and reality. While BYOD has attracted much attention in recent years, it would appear that significant adoption is yet to take place. While token adoption of BYOD – where fewer than 10 per cent of employees can connect their private devices to the network – has increased considerably in popularity over the past year (growing from 43 per cent to 58 per cent), company-wide adoption of BYOD (where 75 per cent or more of employees are included) is faring rather poorly. Deployment of company-wide BYOD has grown at half the rate of CYOD (BYOD increased by 6 per cent while CYOD grew by 12 per cent).
Significant CYOD policies are now in operation in under one third (31 per cent) of UK organisations as compared to BYOD in only 17.2 per cent. Organisations are however appearing to be warming to the idea of employees using a single mobile/work device. However opinion still remains in favour of corporate provision. When asked to rate out of 5 whether they support the idea of employees using a single mobile device under a range of different scenarios (with 5 being ‘completely supported’ and 0 being ‘strongly opposed’), organisations still favoured policies in which they owned the device and/or contract. For example, support for a single device ‘if the business owns the device’ has risen from 3.7 to 4.3. However support has grown in all scenarios since 2012, including those of a BYOD nature, suggesting that firms are shifting their views in favour of shared ownership. For example, support for a single device ‘If the employee owns the device’ has risen from 2.8 to 3.3 since last year.
The lack of BYOD adoption is reflected in the perception that BYOD is the least suitable for most organisations – 60 per cent of organisations say CYOD is the best option for them versus only 13 per cent who say the same about BYOD. So besides concerns about device strength, security and the overall costs involved, BYOD would still appear to be a non-viable option for many businesses. As Rufus Grig, CTO of Azzurri Communications, remarked: “…it is only natural that they prefer to stick to what they know.”
*A total of 224 organisations across the whole of the UK were polled during August and September 2013. 97 per cent of the respondents were defined as ICT decision makers. For further analysis of the sample, refer to page 4 of the report.
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Ed Holden, Editor, Manufacturing & Logistics IT.