Why do “BYOD’ projects fail ???

WIFIIs BYOD on the slippery slope to failure? Gartner Group VP takes a look at why over 20% of BYOD projects are failing

Gartner Group, one of the leading IT analyst houses, has been studying the Bring Your Own Device (BYPD) trend throughout 2013. Now, in the view of one of its senior analysts, Van Baker: “One in five BYOD projects will be classified as a failure by 2016”.

That’s a large failure rate by anyone’s standards. Even the UK NHS would be shamed by that figure (even though it has recently been forced to ‘fess up to one of the largest IT project failures – the National Programme for Information Technology (NpFIT). According to Gartner’s research, 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. Van Baker is warning of something MDSL has been aware of for some time – that early BYOD projects were driven solely by the short-term need to make immediate cost-efficiencies and not to improve the long-term running of the business.

Baker noted: “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 cost-neutral, but valuable from an employee satisfaction perspective.”

He continued: “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.”

Let’s remember (or so we were told) that BYOD was driven by employees who were so keen to use their smartphones for work at all times of the day that they demanded their employers give them 24×7 access to the enterprise network. You would have thought that more effective mobile device management (MDM) by corporates would do the trick – but, according to Gartner: “Better MDM solutions are not the answer, 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.”

Van Baker continues: “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.”

So does this really mean a bump in the middle of the road / digital superhighway of corporate BYOD compliance? The world is moving rapidly towards a more mobile future: 79% of Facebook users now log in via a smartphone or other mobile device, while the proportion of web searches originating on a mobile device is confidently predicted to overtake desktop-based search in the very near future. This leaves corporates facing a dilemma: either, where staff resist MDM and refuse to accept it on their personal devices, they can watch as their security becomes increasingly compromised, or they can try to force staff to comply – and we all know where that ends.

It looks like controlling BYOD in the enterprise will of necessity entail a security trade-off. Now why are we not entirely surprised by that?

What say you ??

Thanks to Bill Boyle for the post !


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