Live-to-work ethos of mobile workers is driving uptake of BYOD

28 Nov 2012

Professionals in high-growth markets who ‘live to work’ and whose employers are less inclined to give them mobile devices are driving the uptake of bring your own device (BYOD) or the consumerisation of IT, a new study has found.

Employees in high-growth markets are embracing BYOD faster than those in mature markets, like Western Europe and the US.

In what it claims is the largest study ever conducted into BYOD behaviour and attitudes, Ovum reveals that across 17 markets 57.1pc of full-time employees engage in some form of BYOD.

Yet, when broken down by market, there is a clear trend: 75pc of respondents in the emerging, ‘high-growth’ markets (including Brazil, Russia, India, UAE, and Malaysia) demonstrate a much higher propensity to use their own devices at work, compared to 44pc in more mature markets.

Flexible working attitudes

“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 behaviour and are more precious about the separation of their work and personal domains,” explains Richard Absalom, consumer impact IT analyst at Ovum.

“This bifurcation in behaviour will shape not just future patterns of enterprise mobility in high-growth markets compared to mature markets, but also dictate which markets, structurally, are going to benefit most from this revolution in how and where we work.”

Ovum’s research also suggests that employees in high-growth markets see BYOD as way to get ahead in their careers, with 79pc believing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared to 53.5pc in mature markets.

A notable anomaly to this trend is Spain, where 62.8pc of employees bring their own devices to work – well above the developed market mean. “This could have something to do with the struggling 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.

Too much BYOD activity is going unmanaged

For businesses, while it’s promising to see IT departments getting to grips with, and encouraging, such behaviour in the regions where BYOD behaviour is most prevalent, Ovum warns that too much BYOD activity is going unmanaged.

Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, 17.7pc claim their employer’s IT department does not know, while a further 28.4pc of respondents’ IT departments actively ignore it is happening.

“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, reputational and legal perspectives.

Every business must understand the behaviour of its own employees, which, as we have seen, is likely to be influenced by its location, and manage it according to its risk profile,” says Absalom.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years