Ovum warns BYOD is here to stay and urges CIOs to respond with a clear strategy

By Richard Absalom

With corporate BYOD activity by full-time employees (FTEs) remaining steady at almost 60% over the past two years, the global industry analysts warn business leaders to respond and adapt now to this change in employee behaviour, rather than being steamrollered by it.

Launching the research at its BYOX World Forum recently in London, Ovum revealed that the BYOX phenomenon shows no signs of disappearing, as nearly 70% of employees who own a smartphone or tablet choose to use it to access corporate data. The personal tablet market continues to grow, and with personal tablet ownership by FTEs rising from 28.4% to 44.5% over the last 12 months, more businesses will see these devices on their networks.

Moreover, this activity will continue whether the CIO wants it to or not. Ovum’s study shows that 67.8% of smartphone-owning employees bring their own smartphone to work, and 15.4% of these do so without the IT department’s knowledge and 20.9% do so in spite of an anti-BYOD policy.

Trying to stand in the path of consumerized mobility is likely to be a damaging and futile exercise. We believe businesses are better served by exploiting this behaviour to increase employee engagement and productivity,and promote the benefits of enterprise mobility.

Ovum’s research also depicts the rise of the bring-your-own-application (BYOA) trend. While email and calendar remains the most commonly used application on both corporately provisioned and personally owned devices, the usage of new-generation cloud productivity applications, such as enterprise social networking, file sync and share and IM/VoIP, is growing fast.

Worryingly, Ovum found that these types of apps are increasingly being sourced by employees themselves and not through managed corporate channels – 25.6% of employees discovered their own enterprise social networking apps, while 22.1% and 30.7% of employees discovered their own file sync and share apps and IM/VoIP apps, respectively.

The thread that runs through all of the data is that IT is not keeping up with the changing demands and behaviour patterns of the new mobilized, consumerized workforce. Nowhere is this clearer than in the BYOA data. If employees are sourcing their own applications to do their job, then IT is not delivering the right tools or a good enough user experience for its employees.


Ovum 2013 multi-market BYOX employee study gathered responses from 4,371 consumers across 19 different countries and a wide range of verticals and job roles. The only criteria for entry were that respondents must be employed full-time in an organisation with over 50 employees; so this is a sample of professionals, not the population as a whole.  

About the author

Richard Absalom is consumer impact technology analyst at Ovum.

Ovum provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Our research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and our clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organisations must support. Ovum is an Informa business.


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