A recent IDC survey revealed that the majority of enterprises, across most global industry segments, are embracing tablets and mobile devices as a way to augment and improve their employees’ productivity.
The IDC Mobile Benchmark Study reveals what enterprises are thinking and doing about mobile device policies, tablet adoption, and the costs and practices involved with developing apps for them.
The IDC surveyed 52 CIOs and senior IT professionals throughout North America and Europe in late 2011. Here are the key highlights from the study:
- 49 percent of the organizations represented in the survey are already providing corporate-liable tablets to their employees. That may mean (among other things) that a large percentage of enterprises deem the costs and risks associated with corporate ownership outweigh those posed by the use of individual-liable devices to access, store or disseminate corporate data. (For a refresher on the issues and arguments around “bring your own device” or BYOD programs, see this eWeek article).
- Tablets aren’t universally seen as a replacement to laptops. Large portions of respondents see tablets, rather, as additional devices, both augmenting and expanding employees’ workplace and mobile tools.
- Replacement cycles for tablets are more like those of smartphones than of laptops—that is, they’ll be refreshed, on the average, every 2.5 years. The costs are significant: respondents expect to regularly spend 1 percent of IT budgets on tablet acquisition and replacement alone. That level of commitment to tablets indicates a widespread belief in their ability to boost productivity and to improve other worthy metrics.
- Another interesting finding: more than 42 percent of respondents provide limited IT support for users who run business applications on their own tablets. On the other hand, 44 percent of responds reported that they do not offer any support for individual-liable tablets. This is to mitigate the risks that are associated with BYOD, which we’ve written a lot about on this blog.
In the video below, IDC Senior VP, IT Executive & Industry Research, Meredith Whalen, discusses the survey findings:
In the report, IDC recommends that enterprises take action to develop and enforce relevant policies sooner, not later. Organizations should set up a governance committee composed of finance, HR, legal and other stakeholders, then outline a comprehensive policy for BYOD devices (the simplest and perhaps safest policy: prohibit employee-owned device access to corporate networks, data, apps, etc.).
Here are some additional comments from IDC’s Crawford Del Prete, Chief Research Officer, related to the benefits of new mobile devices in the enterprise and the pros and cons of BYOD programs:
Enterprise policies for mobile devices should also address the use of a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution of some kind. These solutions, discussed at length in this piece on best practices for controlling mobile devices, should assist organizations in configuring, tracking and reporting, and providing support for the devices—and, ideally, include some level of control and management of data and apps as well.
These solutions promise a number of advantages: lower operational costs, enhanced disaster preparedness, a certain reduction in staff management hassles, and consistent access across multiple device types. My colleague, Kevin Beck recently wrote a blog post about MDM solutions and the results of a recent Forrester report on MDM early adopters.
Has your enterprise already launched a governance group or other task force around mobile device usage? If so, we’d love to hear what’s been achieved, along with any lessons learned. Or maybe your organization has gone a different direction entirely—if so, tell us about it in a comment.
With their increase in popularity, IT organizations are under pressure from the business to come up with a strategy for making the most of tablets across the enterprise. This Executive Insights brief explains how organizations are addressing critical concerns about deploying tablets. Discover 7 important questions to ask yourself as you start to evaluate tablets for use in your work environment, such as security, IT control, application management, and connectivity.