It’s not news that more and more businesses are allowing workers to bring their smartphones and sometimes tablets of choice to the office. But would you have guessed that two of the most highly regulated industries (finance and healthcare) would be the ones leading the charge for this BYOD (bring your own device) trend? That’s what a study undertaken by Good Technology, makers of enterprise mobile security software, found. Good’s data also shows that size of the company is not an impediment to making BYOD work, and that even when workers are paid a small stipend toward a device they bring, businesses save money overall by having more productive workers.
Good’s survey includes responses from 400 of Good’s largest customers, with 2,000 employees or more, in October. And according to the results BYOD is being very clearly embraced: 70 percent of respondents said they currently let employees bring their own smartphone (or tablet) to work, 19 percent are considering allowing it, and just 9 percent said they had no plans for BYOD programs.
Being a large company isn’t a deterrent: among those polled, 80 percent that allow BYOD have 2,000 employees or more, 60 percent have 5,000 or more and 35 percent have 10,000 or more. And of those companies, half allow employees to bring their own smartphone or tablet to work as long as they pay for all the costs, while 45 percent offer some kind of stipend for employees to use toward buying a device or a way to expense monthly costs.
BYOD is not as popular among retailers and government agencies, according the the study. But the reason that it’s finding so much success at highly regulated industries, like healthcare and finance — which have very high bars for security and compliance — is the existence of software available that allays those concerns. (Like Good’s, hence their survey.) New mobile software can be installed on personal iPhones or Android phones that “create strong separation between business data and what’s happening on the personal side of the device,” John Herrema, SVP of Corporate Strategy at Good, said in an interview. That separation helps hospitals, banks and other meet compliance standards like HIPAA, PCI data security and more.
“Once you solve that problem, we’re not surprised that [these industries] are the broad adopters,” he added. “They’re very much information-driven, knowledge-driven, real-time, access-to-data-driven,” which having your favorite mobile device in your pocket can help with.
As far as what kinds of devices these workers are bringing in when given the choice, it’s not a huge shock: “Overall, our customers are absolutely activating iOS and Android to the exclusion of everything else we support,” said Herrema. “Historically, we’ve supported Windows Mobile, Symbian, some are even on old Treo devices. Bu these days it’s all about iOS and Android all night.”
The exact breakdown among smartphones brought to work (among Good’s customers) is: 60 percent are iPhones, and 40 percent Android. In tablets, it’s not that close: 95 percent of tablets brought to work are iPads, just 5 percent are Android-powered.
For those companies or IT managers hesitant about the practice, consider this: BYOD can help you save money. It’s fairly obvious that by having employees buy their own smartphone instead of issuing them a BlackBerry you’re going to see savings in your IT budget. But even those companies giving a stipend are seeing the financial benefit.
While Good found that most companies offer a stipend of $61 or more per month for mobile devices, some are varying stipend level by role of the employee. By doing that, the organization can assign how much productivity benefit they think a person with their own mobile device brings — for instance, is it worth more to have a sales director with a mobile device or a general office worker? “So they put a dollar value on that role, which puts them in complete control of the ROI calculus,” said Herrema.
Companies can save money by not buying smartphones anymore, but they get more out of each employee in terms of productivity when they have a device they can use and that they want to use.