by Gaurav Sharma

CIO 100 leaders embrace consumerisation of IT

Apr 07, 20144 mins
MobileMobile AppsSmall and Medium Business

Do you have a BYOD policy in place? Yes – 79% No – 17% No comment – 4%

Do you think BYOD positively impacts productivity? Yes – 98% No – 2%

The issue of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is among the key themes to emerge at this year’s CIO 100, with more than three quarters (79%) of IT heads saying they had a functional policy or were in the initial stages of putting one in place at the very least.

However, given the diversity of the CIO 100, different IT bosses were finding their BYOD Alamo at variable speeds, levels of confidence and corporate acceptance. Reflecting the maturity of the thinking at some companies, around 35% of the respondents said they have had a policy in place for two years or more.

Around 10% of respondents also claimed to be among the “first movers” when the theme initially appeared on corporate radars. Words most commonly ascribed by CIOs in the context of progression on the BYOD front happen to be “inevitable”, “a natural thing to do” and “part of a major shift to mobile.”

All respondents who noted they had a BYOD policy in place provided a bare minimum of letting their workforce access company emails on personal devices. However, going one step further, a significant number said their plans had gone beyond office emails to encompass office documents with encryption.

Atop this, around 10% also said they were providing a “full suite” of functions along a BYOD slant including HR and finance platforms on mobiles and tablets. CIOs of financial services sector and established technology majors accounted for bulk of the “full suitors.”

Size of the organisation did not necessarily come across as a barrier or accelerator to the adoption of BYOD. However, to cite one respondent, having 500 employees or less does give organisations the levity to start the adoption project late and finish early.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, non-profit organisations and charities also view BYOD as an operational cost mitigation mechanism, a point not lost on 20% of their corporate peers as well. Apple and BlackBerry devices were commonly favoured, but provisions of corporate platforms for Android and Windows devices were also catching-up.

One theme to emerge was the “either or” philosophy, as most CIOs had policies in place for either one or two operating systems, except for 10% of respondents who said they were comfortable with all major operating systems.

A number of CIOs (9%) have also put corporate finance schemes in place to nudge employees towards buying gadgets that were more compatible with their thinking on BYOD. All 79% said data security was their biggest BYOD concern but one that they are comfortable with. However, IT bosses of all county councils included in the CIO 100 admitted that their pace of adoption had to reflect constantly evolving compliance norms outlined under the Public Services Network strategy.

Most of the CIOs with plans in place for BYOD deemed it to be a force for good, but a minority (2%) questioned whether it had any tangible impact on employees’ productivity, even though having a policy in place does raise satisfaction levels according to most respondents.

Among the 17% of respondents with no plans in place, IT bosses of either public sector or security services undertakings highlighted security concerns as the primary factor dampening their enthusiasm for BYOD.

Over half felt constrained by data security requirements within their organisation which prevented them from going down the route. Additionally, a quarter opined that their business model did not require them to deploy BYOD.

There were some situational nays as well, for many of those who said no were at the pilot stage in their respective companies and could not give the nod to BYOD at their respective firms just yet. Only 2% of those surveyed rejected the notion of BYOD outright.