Aussie IT managers struggling with BYOT: Unisys

Vendor survey finds employees buying their own devices rather than waiting for company policy

More Australian workers are buying their own tablet or smartphone to use at work, forcing employers to create a bring your own technology (BYOT) policy, a Unisys survey has found.

Conducted by IDC US, the second annual Consumerisation of IT study found that 39 per cent of smartphones and 23 per cent of tablets were purchased by staff for use at work, with the employee also paying the usage charges. The survey included a sample of 300 Australian employees and 75 IT department executive and managers,

According to the survey, there were differing views by employees and employers on the use of BYOT, with 16 per cent of workers having indicated they used iPads for work, while employers thought that only eight per cent of their workers were using iPads.

In addition, 28 per cent of the employees surveyed said they used iPhones at work while IT executives wrote that only 16 per cent of their workers used the devices.

However, the survey results also revealed a majority of employers recognised the benefits of creating BYOT policies, with 28 per cent indicating that having a policy would cut costs for the company and 44 per cent indicating a policy would improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

Approximately 31 per cent of Australian employers were looking at a discount or stipend scheme in the next year to help staff buy their own devices.

Unisys Asia Pacific IT outsourcing vice president, Lee Ward, said in a statement that employers have moved from blissful ignorance to what she called "paralysed awareness" when it came to the consumerisation of IT.

"They are more cognisant of the impact that mobile technologies and social media are having on their employers and their business, but are seemingly daunted by the perceived security risks and increased demand on IT resources and don't know where to begin to address the challenges," she said.

"The longer they delay in doing so, however, the harder it will be for them to manage these issues and realise the business benefits they can achieve by embracing consumer technologies."

The survey also found that Australian employers see BYOT as inevitable, with 84 per cent having written that tablet devices would become an integral part of the business

However, there were problems cited by IT executives in implementing a program, including security concerns, viruses from social networks and challenges in developing corporate policies on BYOT.

Device support was also a barrier, with 76 per cent of management indicating that providing support would increase the IT department's workload, but some employees (32 per cent) wrote that they would troubleshoot the devices first before contacting IT staff.

According to Ward, embracing the consumerisation trend required a change in IT strategy.

"The fact that almost a third of the employees would troubleshoot issues themselves suggests there is an opportunity to provide end-user support for consumer devices through new methods such as self-service portals," she said.

Australia was one of nine countries surveyed by Unisys including Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, UK and the US.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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