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BYOD Trend Not as Hot in U.S. as You Thought

By Craig Galbraith
November 28, 2012 - News

As IT managers in the U.S. deal with a growing list of headaches related to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, a new report says their counterparts in so-called "high-growth" regions have more to worry about.

That's because employees in these markets are more willing to embrace BYOD and the personal productivity benefits of enterprise mobility compared to those in mature markets, says Ovum, the telecom researcher, in a new study. What's driving this trend? People in countries like Brazil, Russia, India, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates have what Ovum calls a "live to work" mentality. There are also fewer companies in those regions doling out mobile handsets and tablets.

The researcher studied 17 markets, determining that 57 percent of full-time employees engage in some form of BYOD; but broken down by market, 75 percent of respondents in the emerging, “high-growth" markets mentioned above, demonstrate a much higher propensity to use their own devices at work, compared to 44 percent in more mature markets such as the U.S.

“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 are more precious about the separation of their work and personal domains," said Richard Absalom, consumer impact IT analyst at Ovum. “This bifurcation in behavior 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 79 percent believing that constant connectivity to work applications enables them to do their jobs better, compared to 53.5 percent in mature markets.

A notable anomaly to this trend is Spain, where 62.8 percent of employees bring their own devices to work – well above the developed market mean. A horrible economy there could be spurring people to impress their bosses in order to stay employed.

For businesses, while it’s promising to see IT departments getting to grips with, and encouraging, such behavior in the regions where BYOD behavior is most prevalent, Ovum warns that too much BYOD activity is going unmanaged. Of those respondents who bring their own devices to work, nearly 18 percent claim that their employer’s IT department does not know, while another 28 percent of respondents’ IT departments actively ignore it is happening.

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