Gartner: 20% of BYOD projects will fail by 2016

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BYOD is inevitable for most enterprises, says Van Baker, research VP at Gartner.
BYOD is inevitable for most enterprises, says Van Baker, research VP at Gartner.

One in five bring your own device (BYOD) projects will be classified as a failure by 2016, according to research from Gartner. Companies are keen to adopt BYOD to encourage mobile computing, reduce costs and enhance productivity, but many will set their security policies so tight that users abandon the programmes.

Van Baker, research VP at Gartner, says enterprises will see users avoiding BYOD, refusing to accept strict conditions on their personal devices and opting out of programmes entirely.

Organisations will experience lower productivity, staffing problems and security risks as their users rebel, Baker said.

"Many organisations are attracted to what they believe will be cost savings as a result of a reduction in enterprise-purchased devices, but these savings are illusory because they are often offset by increased support costs for the enterprise. As such, most early BYOD programmes are costs-neutral, but valuable from an employee satisfaction perspective.

Failure of a BYOD initiative would likely be measured by decreased employee satisfaction and reduced employee productivity as employees that are forced to use enterprise-issued devices are likely to leave them at home or in the office outside of work hours. There is also a potential for increased risk as employees try to use devices that are not secure for work-related activities," Baker said.

Better mobile device management (MDM) solutions are not the answer, Baker said, though many organisations will initially attempt to apply a technological solution. In fact, the problem stems from overly aggressive MDM policies in the first place.

"The problem arises when the policies imposed on use of the devices is too cumbersome or onerous to be accepted by the employees. If there are too many capabilities that are disabled, employees will choose not to accept the MDM controls implemented by IT and opt out of installing the MDM client on their personal device."

Organisations should watch for high rates of MDM opt-out as a sign their BYOD policies may be heading for failure, Baker said, and move quickly to find a more palatable compromise.

"If anything greater than 20% of employees reject the installation of an MDM client on their personal device, there is potential for a problem with the BYOD effort. Certainly, if less than 50% ultimately support the deployment of MDM on personal mobile devices, then the entire MDM solution should likely be abandoned."

Ultimately, BYOD will happen with or without the buy-in of the IT department, Baker notes. Faced with the option of unmanaged BYOD, making some compromises will avoid a costly, and risky, user revolt.

"Investment in mobile technology will continue to rise as the benefits are just too compelling for users to avoid the technology and the costs are low enough to allow for easy acquisition," Baker said.

"BYOD is inevitable for most enterprises, so if the IT effort fails then you will still have BYOD to the degree that employees choose to do work with personal devices. It will just be done with devices that are not secure."

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