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Study: BYOD Brings Employee Productivity Gains

Some companies still have trepidation around security issues, but companies that have thought through the issues and defined BYOD policies face little risk, said Dell's Roger Bjork.

More than two-thirds of businesses see boosts in employee productivity and customer response time by letting employees bring their own devices to work, and more than half of companies feel they would be at a competitive disadvantage without BYOD, according to a new study by Dell Software.

The survey, conducted with nearly 1,500 IT decision makers around the world, also found that 64 percent of respondents believe that BYOD will only deliver benefits if the specific needs and rights of each user are understood.

In addition, the survey identified several areas of increased employee gains: more flexible working hours, ability to foster creativity, innovation, increased morale and more teamwork/collaboration.

Related: BYOD And Security: The Biggest Threat Of All

"It is working. And for companies that approach this with a well-thought out plan, it works better. It's not surprising, but it is refreshing to see," said Roger Bjork, director of enterprise mobility solutions for the Dell Software group.

Some companies still have trepidation around security issues, but companies that have thought through the issues and defined BYOD policies face little risk, Bjork said.

"They can then choose strategies and partners to move them down the path, and problems are minimal or non-existent," Bjork said.

Dell surveyed two sets of companies: between 1,000 and 3,000 users and more than 3,000 users, midmarket and enterprise audiences for whom BYOD is a big topic, Bjork said.

"We encourage them to have a plan and not just let BYOD happen," Bjork said.

First, businesses should define what they're trying to accomplish with BYOD and set HR and other policies accordingly. It's better to focus on users than device types, he added.

"Let that drive future decisions. Based on that, I think you can identify technologies to deploy and employ policies around security," Bjork said. "Then you can power those employees with apps."

Solution providers trying to figure out how to help customers deploy BYOD technology should follow the same paths, he said. "Reinforce to customers that there is a way to do this and developing a plan is a good step," he said.

The United States, the Beijing region and Australia comprised the top three places that encourage BYOD by actively managing and supporting any devices that users want to bring into the corporate environment, according to the study. France, Germany and the United Kingdom were the bottom three countries in that regard.

The two most common areas implemented for BYOD are desktop virtualization and mobile device management.

Some organizations are still struggling to understand the concept of BYOD, according to Dell. For example, 11 percent of survey respondents said BYOD means "employees wanting to use their tablets."

But, BYOD is making inroads. About 32 percent of respondents answered the question about what BYOD means to their organization with the answer that "the BYOD movement is about much more than managing devices -- it's about users, how they do their jobs and the degree to which organizations empower them to achieve maximum productivity -- regardless of device or location."

NEXT: Focus On Users, Not Devices


One area where many businesses struggle is a strategy around managing the user versus managing the device when it comes to BYOD, according to the study. 56 percent of IT decision makers said they would rather manage the device, while 44 percent they would manage the user. In the U.S., 70 percent of respondents chose devices.

Dell discovered a list of beneficial attributes for companies that adopt a user-centric strategy, including the ability to link and manage devices per user, track and support each user's level of mobility, deliver applications based on a user's role, and adhere to governance regulations.

Carol Fawcett, CIO of Dell's Software Group, said in her previous role as CIO of Quest Software, acquired by Dell, she focused on the user with more success.

"I led a team that empowered nearly 4,000 employees across 60 offices in 23 countries to use their preferred devices to do their jobs. Instead of just worrying about their devices, where appropriate, we focused on giving our colleagues access to the apps and data they needed, regardless of device," Fawcett said in a statement. "We found this approach helped us quickly move out of device firefighting mode to be much more strategic, which also enabled us to resolve our biggest BYOD problems, such as security, access rights and data leakage. The results of this latest BYOD survey reinforce the importance of putting users first in order to develop the most effective policies and turn BYOD into a long-term, sustainable business benefit.’

PUBLISHED JAN. 22, 2013

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