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The BYOD debate is not over

Matt Hamblen | July 20, 2015
Another poll, and new wireless carrier policies, signal BYOD could have renewed life.

byod keyboard bring your own device mobile

While a recent U.S.-based poll of 375 IT professionals showed the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) fad is fading, there's new evidence showing that BYOD still has plenty of life.

According to a new online poll, most workers use personal mobile phones for work tasks, often outside of work hours. Some 1,320 workers in the U.S., U.K. and Spain responded to the poll, conducted in May.

Respondents said there's widespread use of personal phones for work, including 61% of respondents in the U.S., 69% in Spain and 43% in the U.K. A headline by the poll's sponsor trumpeted: "BYOD: The new norm."

The poll was conducted via Survey Monkey and commissioned by Tyntec, a German vendor of virtual, cloud-based phone numbers to help BYOD along. With the Tyntec system, IT managers can assign a work phone number and a personal number to one employee's device, so they can separate work usage from personal usage when calculating reimbursements or to keep their personal data private. (Tyntec has competitors, including Line2.)

Tyntec's poll didn't find that many workers who perform work tasks on personal devices had a formal policy for BYOD in place. A formal BYOD policy was present in only 34% of the U.S.-based poll respondents, in 25% in Spain and 18% in the U.K.

Tyntec's poll also didn't ask whether a worker's company had a "no BYOD" policy in place, which is a separate, but related, question that was explored in the recent online poll of 375 U.S. IT professionals in private companies conducted by CompTIA.

Tyntec's poll doesn't directly contradict the CompTIA poll, since the questions weren't all the same. Still, the two polls show there are wide variations in thinking about the BYOD trend.

CompTIA, an IT trade organization, found in its April and May survey that 53% of IT respondents allowed no BYOD in their companies, up from 34% in 2013. No BYOD means the company provides smartphones and tablets to workers and bans use of personal devices for work.

In a report with the poll results, CompTIA commented that even when a company bans BYOD, "ambitious employees will find ways to utilize personal devices and applications even if they are forbidden." Tyntec's poll seems to have found that group of ambitious workers.

Meanwhile, analysts at Gartner last year predicted nearly half of all businesses will require workers to use a personal device for work by 2017. Gartner's position seems to be bolstered by the new Tyntec poll and undermined by the CompTIA poll.

Suffice it to say, it's still a matter of heated debate whether BYOD is gaining favor or not -- or is even a good business decision. Bob Egan, an analyst at Sepharim Group, said Thursday he's seen indicators for a long while that growth in BYOD is "more myth than matter."


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