The new BYOD: Businesses are now driving adoption

Savvy companies aren't waiting for users to bring in their own smartphones and tablets -- they're encouraging it

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Active BYOD increases productivity, reduces telco and device costs
In both financial services and health care, businesses see the most ROI if their employees are using app-savvy hardware such as the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices -- which happen to be the ones that employees tend to want anyhow and are bringing in on their own when not provided by their employer. That explains the significant trend unearthed in Good's survey: Employers now actively encourage BYOD as a way to increase productivity and ROI from their information workers. That means not just accepting the use of such devices but encouraging their adoption.

That encouragement has another benefit for companies, if not employees: Because the devices that provide the most value to people on their jobs are the same ones that people want to use anyhow, employees are willing to pay for them. Good's survey showed that half of its customers don't pay a dime for the employees' BYOD devices -- in essence, getting employees to pay for the productivity boost at work.

The other employers are smarter than that. They pay for at least some of the cost to encourage more employees to adopt iPhones, iPads, and Androids than otherwise would -- to grow the pool of highly connected, highly effective information workers. Avnet, a distribution firm, takes this approach to the next level: offering different levels of subsidy based on the employee's role and thus anticipated ROI from using such devices.

Some companies pay the full freight, but most don't; even if more employees use smartphones and tablets, the corporate costs still go down or at least stay flat. Of course, many companies continue to issue mobile devices -- but no longer just BlackBerrys -- to at least some employees as standard, company-paid equipment.

But the direction is clear: Businesses have figured out that information workers do better with iPhones, iPads, and Androids, and these workers are willing to pay for the privilege, making an active BYOD program that much sweeter for the employer. Maybe at some point, employees will wise up and end the free ride, but I doubt it. After all, employees also pay for their own computers, broadband, and office setups at home with little protest.

This article, "The new BYOD: Businesses are now driving adoption," was originally published at Read more of Galen Gruman's Smart User blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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