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Survey Finds Companies Still Struggle With BYOD

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Enterprises Must Build Flexible BYOD Strategies That Incorporate The Needs of The Workforce

The proliferation of mobile devices in and outside of the workplace is having a monumental impact on how enterprises function on a basic level. Not only are new and innovative platforms forcing the business phone system to transform into a more flexible and scalable service, but it is also changing how decision-makers view the management of all IT assets.

Unfortunately, many companies are still in the beginning phases of considering the deployment of mobility in the workplace, which is causing a chasm to form between IT and the workforce. This gap creates new challenges that must be addressed if enterprise collaborative strategies are to thrive.

A recent TEKsystems study of more than 1,500 IT leaders and 2,000 IT professionals around the world highlighted some of the complications that are associated with the mobile movement, revealing that more than half of respondents said their employers typically fall short when creating a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. This means that executives have either failed to communicate these programs with the rest of the organization, they have not built any specific guidelines or individuals are simply not allowed to use personal smartphones and tablets in the office.

Additionally, fewer than half of the respondents who said they do have a BYOD plan in place stated that these policies were clear to employees throughout the company, TEKsystems reported. If executives do not build a comprehensive mobile strategy, their office phone systems may fall out of date and individuals will lose their desire to work, causing new talent management complications to emerge.

The mobile landscape is littered with hurdles, there is no doubt about it. Still, progressive companies need to press on through these obstacles if they want to stay competitive and succeed in today's business world.

Building an Effective BYOD Strategy

In today's highly complex and sophisticated IT environment, any employee who is unsure of best practices regarding mobility or simply chooses to ignore these processes poses a significant risk to the enterprise as a whole. After all, organizations that cannot keep sensitive information safe within their own walls will have no chance supporting a remote workforce and participating in other endeavors that are now considered high priorities among employees.

"Organizations have an obligation to protect sensitive data pertaining to their clients and employees. Without formal BYOD plans in place and consistent execution, organizations leave themselves exposed. Additionally, they may be failing to capitalize on the potential benefits of BYOD, including increases in productivity and collaboration," said Jason Hayman, research manager at TEKsystems.

The survey revealed that 73 percent of IT professionals and leaders believe that sensitive information is often exposed due to employees not following best practices when using personal mobile devices. As the use of mobile gadgets rise in the enterprise, following through on these initiatives will become increasingly important.

A recent Gartner report echoed the importance of developing comprehensive mobile initiatives in the workplace, as more than 60 percent of all information workers are expected to leverage content applications through mobile devices by 2015. This means that any inappropriate use of smartphones, tablets and other devices will increase the chance that highly sensitive data slips through the cracks unnoticed.

"Engaging mobile workers means encouraging them to use the devices they have chosen. However, by the end of 2016, we expect 50 percent of content and collaboration initiatives will fail because of low levels of engagement with the information workers directly affected by them," said Whit Andrews, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Therefore, planning ahead will be a critical aspect of building a next-generation collaborative strategy.

Looking To The Future

The business world thrives off of innovation. This means that employees are easily disenchanted by old phone systems and other collaborative tools that do not necessarily hold any significant place in their day-to-day operations. Individuals are no longer content leveraging outdated land line tools that cannot support smartphone or tablet connectivity. As a result, workers will often circumvent IT policies in an attempt to use the endpoints they desire, not necessarily the platforms that are provided to them by the organization.

Forward-thinking decision-makers need to understand this mentality and embrace it, as trying to hold back the flood of mobile devices in the workplace will only create broken dams and information leakage. Instead, executives should work with employees to understand their desires and build firm programs that align with these demands without sacrificing functionality, security or efficiency in any way.

The future of the business world resides in agnostic connectivity and interoperability. Enterprises that want to be on the forefront of innovation need to plan ahead and build programs that recognize these needs and address them successfully.