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Q&A: BYOD is here to stay

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 5, 2013
There is no use fighting the BYOD trend. BYOD is further entrenched in the workplace than many IT managers realise, says Tim Harris, Managing Director, BT SEA.

Tim Harris

There is no use fighting the BYOD trend. BYOD is further entrenched in the workplace than many IT managers realise, says Tim Harris, Managing Director, BT SEA.

Would you say BYOD is already a reality in Asia? Or is it still a trend gathering speed?

BYOD is definitely a trend that is gaining traction in Asia, but the rate of adoption differs from country to country. Research by BT Global Services and Cisco, which surveyed attitudes towards workers' usage of their own smart devices at work, found that more than half (56 percent) of Singapore employers permit employees to connect personally owned devices to the corporate network. The figure increases to 71 percent in India and 88 percent in China. Although Singapore is more technologically advanced, its BYOD adoption rate is lower than that of China and India. Based on this, there appears to be an inverse relationship between ICT infrastructure in a country and adoption of BYOD.

Our interpretation for this trend is that companies in developed countries have invested significant resources establishing their corporate ICT infrastructure over the years. They may have more pragmatic considerations that influence BYOD adoption such as increased complexity and costs. While the BYOD movement continues to gain ground in Singapore, the highly developed ICT infrastructure and presence of well-entrenched corporate security policies here would likely mean that adoption rates in Singapore would continue to increase at a slower pace than other Asian countries.

BYOD is here to stay and set to proliferate further across companies in Asia. Ninety percent of employees in Singapore, (88 percent in China and 95 percent in India) who are currently not allowed to use personal devices at work believe in the potential benefits of BYOD. From the perspective of IT decision-makers, 70 percent in both Singapore and India, as well as 90 percent in China believe that the rise of BYOD heralds the move to a new model of IT. This data shows that barriers between the individual and workplace are dissolving, with everything being linked by the corporate network. This positive attitude towards BYOD from the perspective of employers and employees sets the stage for further increase in BYOD adoption for the region.

How many organisations in Asia have a BYOD policy in place? Are they ready to face this deluge?

According to BT and Cisco's BYOD research, only 36 percent of organisations in Singapore have a formal BYOD policy in place. For China and India, this grows to 40 percent and 46 percent respectively. Of the organisations surveyed that have a BYOD policy, 44 percent in Singapore allow BYOD only to a limited degree (e.g. only some devices allowed), while only 17 percent have policies that actively support and encourage BYOD among employees.

 

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