To set the context for a BYOD discussion Techaisle’s survey on end-point technology status of SMBs provide an intriguing set of statistics through which we can assess recent endpoint trends. BYOD is clearly a major force in the US SMB market. BYOD purchases accounted for 13% of all new laptops, 17% of all new tablets, and 22% of all new smartphones purchased by US SMBs in 2013. This creates challenges for both IT management, which needs to establish methods of managing these devices, and for suppliers, who need to work with SMBIT to secure their position in the main endpoint categories, and also appeal to business managers and individual buyers to ensure that they are not left out of a major portion of the market. Techaisle’s SMB End-point survey data shows that approaches to BYOD –brand selection, reimbursement, application download and support – vary with employee size, with small SMBs leaving most of the decision, cost and support to individual users, and larger SMBs tending to involve business and/or IT management in these activities.
The survey data also shows that overall frequency of device purchases, which speaks to the erosion of the notebook market as emphasis shifts to alternative screens; in 2013, a higher percentage of US SMB employees were using tablets and smartphones than notebooks purchased within the year.
Suppliers need to recognize the distinctions that are apparent across employee size categories, and structure their offerings accordingly. IT vendors courting the very small business (1-19 employee) segment should recognize that employees are most likely paying for and supporting these devise themselves; as a result, IT vendors will need to offer financing and vendor/carrier-supplied, business-grade support options. In larger SMBs, specifically, mid-market businesses, funding and support is more likely to come from business and IT management; in these segments, OEMs are advised to establish programs that make it easy to onboard, secure and support new devices and users. In both cases, there are gaps in policies; suppliers who help businesses to establish and implement effective BYOD practices may be able to position their products favorably as a result.
SMB employees driving much of the activity is also creating sales and marketing challenge for suppliers: opportunities to sell brands and configurations that are outside corporate specifications, and challenges in aligning channel strategies to a market that includes both IT and individual employees (business management) as important buying groups.
Within the SMB context, BYOD itself comes in several ‘flavors.’ Techaisle survey data shows that on hand an SMB employee both selects and pays for a new device, delighting the CFO, but causing problems for IT. On the other, the SMB employee pays for the device, but selects it based on guidelines or an approved list – an approach (referred to in some cases as CYOD) that appeals to both the CFO and IT, but might not be completely satisfactory for the employee. BYOD can take any one of these paths and add some level of reimbursement for the purchase from the company and/or technical support for the devices, which has both upside (because the employee selects technology that he/she is comfortable with) and downside (the cost burden rests, at least to some extent, with the company rather than the employee) for the SMB business owner. And regardless of the approach chosen, some SMBs are instituting formal contracts that provide them with authorization to secure and (if necessary) ‘wipe’ employee-owned devices.
Who selects the BYOD brand?
The most critical BYOD question for IT manufacturers revolves around brand selection: is it done by the employee or the employer? Survey data shows that the answer depends largely on the size of the SMB business.
Who pays the BYOD bill?
One of the contentious issues in BYOD is the matter of responsibility for funding the device purchase. Many employees view BYOD as an attempt by their SMB employers to shift costs from the business to its staff. Many SMBs, on the other hand, see BYOD as a means of ensuring that employees have access to the technology that they like best. Some employers view paying for the devices as a means of building goodwill with staff (and/or as a means of building a basis for exerting management control over the devices), while others believe that simply allowing the devices to be connected to corporate assets represents contribution enough.
Who is responsible for BYOD support?
In our survey, we asked respondents to identify the ways in which their organizations support BYOD devices. The findings provide a fascinating insight into the ways in which BYOD devices are integrated into the corporate endpoint portfolio from no support at all to commitment to full integration of BYOD devices.
What is the policy with respect to app downloads on BYOD devices?
One of the key employee benefits associated with BYOD devices is that employees have a platform on which to run personal applications. What, though, is the implication for business applications? Are employees free to select any app that they choose, or should the business play a role in directing or determining the selection of business apps? Results from the survey suggest that the degree of formalization associated with app selection and installation varies from no formal policy to a very structured approach.
Is there a contract in place to govern BYOD use?
The final BYOD issue investigated by our survey related to the creation of contracts between employers and employees. Techaisle considers these contracts to be important to the success of BYOD strategies, as they provide explicit employee agreement to IT activities necessary to safeguarding corporate apps and data and we expect that this will become standard HR practice in BYOD-friendly SMBs over time.
About the Report
- Current and Planned purchase Intentions of client devices
- Tablet OS & Application software adoption – Behind the Screen
- BYOD: Employers vs. Employees, or Micros vs. Larger SMBs?
- Across the OS generations: XP, Windows 8 refresh intentions
- The Android Opportunity: Google in the PC Market
- Converged Mobility PCs: 2-in-1 PCs
- PC Purchase Channel and Sources of Information
More details about the report can be found here.
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