Why business leaders must manage BYOD trends
According to the latest market study by Ovum, employees in high-growth markets are more willing to embrace the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to work phenomenon, and adopt the personal productivity benefits of enterprise mobility.
Ovum believes that the BYOD trend is driven by professionals in high-growth markets that seek to live and work much more effectively than their peers - and the fact that there's less corporate provision of mobile phones or tablets.
As part of a large study that assessed employee behavior and attitudes towards a BYOD solution, Ovum revealed that across the 17 markets that they surveyed, 57.1% of full-time employees engage in some form of BYOD activity.
Yet, when broken down by market, there's a clear trend: 75% of survey respondents in the emerging markets - i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, UAE and Malaysia - demonstrate a much higher propensity to use their own devices at work, when compared to 44% in more mature markets.
"Employees in high-growth, emerging economies are demonstrating a more flexible attitude to working hours, and are happy to use their own devices for work.
"However, in mature markets, employees have settled into comfortable patterns of working behavior and prefer the separation of their work and personal domains," said Richard Absalom, research analyst at Ovum.
These individual preferences will shape future patterns of enterprise mobility in different markets, and also dictate which markets, structurally, are going to benefit most from this revolution in how and where we choose to work.
Ovum says that employees in high-growth markets will see BYOD as a way to advance their careers, with 79% believing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared to 53.5% of respondents in mature markets.
A notable anomaly to this trend is in Spain, where 62.8% of employees bring their own devices to work - that's well above the developed market mean.
"This could be related to the struggling Spanish economy: people are willing to use any and all means necessary to get ahead in their jobs, as losing them could be disastrous, given the high rates of unemployment," suggests Absalom.
For businesses, while some IT departments are actively engaged and encouraging such behaviour in the regions where BYOD adoption is most prevalent, Ovum warns that too much BYOD activity is currently not being managed or supported by IT groups.
Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, 17.7% claim that their employer's IT department does not know about their BYOD activity, while a further 28.4% of respondents say their IT department ignores it.
"Unmanaged BYOD creates a great data security risk, and the implications of losing sensitive data via a personally owned device can be dire from financial, reputation and legal perspectives," concludes Absalom.
Every business leader must understand the BYOD behavior of their employees, which, as we have seen, is likely to be influenced by its location, and manage the activity according to its risk profile.
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