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October 10, 2011

Majority of UK firms against BYOD to work: study

Nearly a third of British firms feel Bring Your Own Device cause productivity loss, contrary to what employees think, finds survey

By CBR Staff Writer

British firms risk losing out on significant employee productivity gains due to old-fashioned attitudes towards embracing new technologies such as smartphones and tablet devices in the workplace, according to a new study.

A survey, conducted by research firm Vanson Bourne and commissioned by managed data service provider Six Degrees Group, found widely differing attitudes between businesses and their employees towards the growing ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) to work phenomenon.

The study found that while a majority of employees believe that using personal devices at work would improve productivity, employers seem to be aghast at that idea.

A vast majority (78%) of employees among the respondents believe that their own personal devices are superior to those provided by their employer.

The survey found that employees believe that if they were able to use their own devices for work, employees estimate they would be at least 7% more productive, and in many cases far higher.

The survey also found that most (84%) employees believe using their own device at work would place no extra burden on IT support, with almost a third more likely to troubleshoot problems themselves.

Six Degrees Group CEO Alastair Mills said BYOD has the potential to make British firms even more successful.

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Mills said, "We’ve clearly reached a tipping point in technology: for the first time ever, our personal tech is better than our work tech. The trend towards BYOD reflects the fact that the UK has become one of the most connected, always on, societies and we now have technology at our fingertips that can make us even more successful."

However, the study found that UK firms loathe the use of new technologies at the workplace.

In the survey, almost half (48%) of UK firms refuse to allow employees to connect their own personal devices to the corporate network. When asked if they might reconsider their position towards BYOD, 87% said no.

Moreover, only 9% of the firms softened their stance when faced with the possibility of BYOD increasing productivity and profits while reducing IT helpdesk costs.

For most of the firms, BYOD is not an option with 29% citing lost productivity as one of the top concerns.

Mills is surprised by thes statistics and the attitude.

He said, "The employees of British businesses are innovating furiously: they’re adopting smartphones, smart devices and public cloud services that are changing their lives.

"Meanwhile, UK plc still thinks and acts like it’s the 1990s, despite the fact that employees are willing to do more work, in their own time, at their own expense. Businesses that actively opt out of BYOD do so at their own commercial peril."

Mills concluded, "Employees are much more bullish than their employers about the benefits of using innovative technology at work – they think it will make them more productive, innovative, creative and competitive. BYOD technology can play an enabling and empowering role in British business, but only if British business is prepared to adopt it."

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