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Too many thinking inside the box, says IDC

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Mobile analysts have urged Asia Pac IT managers to keep an open mind ro BYOD and other new technologies with the potential to transform the business.

Claus Mortensen, principal for emerging tech at IDC, used the analyst’s Asia Pacific Enterprise Mobility Conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday to share some findings from a new survey of IT managers in the region.

It found that Asia is lagging behind other regions in its readiness to embrace the consumerisation of IT revolution sweeping organisations across the globe.

Only a quarter said they’d think about tacking BYOD in the next 12 months, with the rest either not looking at it at all or not until next year, despite Android and iOS coming out the clear leaders in terms of preferred platform for the enterprise, with a third of the vote each.

“There’s a huge pool to tap into,” said Mortensen. “But this [lack of strategy] is concerning because it is already taking place. As a CIO you need to deal with it sooner rather than later.”

Respondents' drivers for adopting BYOD reflected diverse motivations. Eleven per cent said cost reduction – which analysts warned was the worst reason for allowing the use of personal devices at work.

Some 49 per cent said it was to increase productivity while 16 per cent said employee retention but a quarter claimed it was due to ‘reacting to employees’ – something which betrays a lack of strategic thinking on behalf of the IT boss.

Mortensen urged IT leaders to proactively draw up BYOD policies as a matter of priority.

“You need a policy, that’s a no brainer – you can’t just let it be an ad hoc thing for IT managers to decide on based on their personal relationships with whoever’s asking,” he said.

“One of the best ways to cater for your users is to list the options you can support, giving them enough freedom of choice for which device to buy.”

CIOs should also keep an open mind about hyped technologies which may actually be a good fit for their organisation, but not necessarily if used in the manner they were originally intended.

“We now acknowledge that the iPhone has shown us use cases we’d never have thought of, so you can’t assume that some technologies have no applicability to what you do today,” said Mortensen.

“If you can’t see a use for technology, maybe you’re not being imaginative enough.”

Such technologies could include social business apps or NFC capabilities, he said.

Building the case for BYOD, IDC VP Tim Dillon said that contrary to popular belief there are almost as many apps designed for business use as consumer now on the various platforms – the ratio being roughly 55:45 in favour of consumer.

Productivity, analytics, social, field service and office apps are the most popular in the business sphere, he added. ®

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