BYOD: Kill off those old IT policies, CIOs

  • CIOs may have to reformulate IT policies
  • BYOD trend not just taking off, it is happening now

IF YOUR organization’s IT policy is three years old or more, it is time to put it to pasture and formulate one that recognizes and accommodates the “Bring Your Own Device” trend, new research indicates.

About 82% of Malaysian employees surveyed bring their own devices to work, and while 91% say their company is aware of this, 69% say their company’s IT department does not provide any support.

However, 41% of them say that they would continue to use their choice of software or apps even if they do not receive support or consent for it.

Laurence Si, Country Manager of VMware Malaysia“The survey findings are not surprising at all,” says Laurence Si (pic), Country Manager of VMware Malaysia, noting that many pundits and analysts have been expecting an increasing uptake of the “consumerization of IT” trend, where employees prefer to work with the devices – whether smartphones or iPad and Android tablets – they own and are used to, and are bringing them to the workplace.

“What was surprising is that this is not happening over the next two or three years, it is happening now,” he adds, speaking at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur on March 22.

Virtualization and cloud computing specialist VMware’s New Way of Work 2012 study, conducted by independent research firm Acorn in January and February, queried 2,077 employees aged 18 to 64 years old in 10 countries: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Of that, 209 respondents were from Malaysia.

The respondents work in companies with more than 1,000 staff globally, work at least 15 hours a week, and use computers both at work and at home.

Malaysians ranked third in demanding less restrictive IT policies at work, with 71% agreeing that they would be happier if they were able to use their choice of web-based customized software or apps at work. This is just behind employees in Thailand (77%) and India (73%).

BYOD: Kill off those old IT policies, CIOs

Recruitment and human resource managers may be interested to note that 69% of Malaysians surveyed said they would prefer to work for a company that is open to their choice of software and devices.

The Acorn findings are also similar to those from research firm Gartner, which also held a briefing earlier in March where its analysts spoke about the “personal cloud” trend.

“There is a big transformation coming in the form of the personal cloud, which augments the personal computer,” says Andrew Johnson, Managing Vice President (Consumer Technology & Markets) at Gartner.

This trend sees consumers storing their digital content or their “digital life” – whether personal or professional – on the cloud, and wanting to be able to access it through multiple devices and at different locations.

Employees want more freedom, and feel they are less stressed and are more efficient, effective and empowered if they can use the devices and apps they are most comfortable with, according to the Acorn research.

The consumer study also unveiled insights around job satisfaction and stress levels that employers should pay attention to.

For example, 71% of Malaysian employees interviewed said they are happier at work when given the freedom to use the technology of their choice, while 58% reported being less stressed at work when using the technology of their choice.

When considering potential employers, 69% of Malaysian respondents viewed companies that provide more technological freedom as more progressive and dynamic and were employers of choice.

BYOD: Kill off those old IT policies, CIOs

“I call this the Happiness Index,” says VMware’s Si. “If you believe that a happy employee is a productive employee, then companies need to re-look at their IT policies.”

“Although some companies are trying to control employee access to the corporate network and data via ‘legitimate’ devices, enlightened companies that recognize this trend and which modernize their IT policies stand to build a happier, more effective and agile workforce.

“Cloud computing and mobile working are redefining how people choose to work, and the potential benefits to employee productivity and happiness make a strong business case for companies to rethink their IT infrastructure and policies,” he adds.

VMware also earlier commissioned Forrester Consulting to do a survey on organizations in the region. The Cloud Computing in Asia Pacific: The Annual Cloud Maturity Index found that organizations in Malaysia increasingly view cloud computing as a strategic initiative (43% in 2011 versus 37% in 2010).

More than 80% said it will enable them to support a more mobile and flexible workforce. Additionally, the majority of respondents strongly agreed that cloud computing will help their organizations share IT resources more effectively (85%) and become more flexible (82%).

The Index found that 64% of Malaysian firms are either currently using or actively planning a cloud initiatives, with a significant increase in the former (28% versus 21% in 2010). Cloud adoption was found to increase with the size of the organization surveyed – 50% of respondents from firms with more than 10,000 employees indicated that they are already using a cloud computing solution compared to organizations with fewer than 10,000 staff (between 14% and 34%).

Data privacy (rated 7.8 out of 10) surpassed security as the top barrier to adoption of cloud computing in Malaysia, a trend that was consistent across the region, VMware says.

A different version of this article previously appeared on the Digital News Asia Facebook Page

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