Tired of having to use work-issued hardware day after day when your own gear is better suited to the task? Don't sweat it, bring your own device (BYOD) programs are growing in popularity in the enterprise
, and by 2016, 38 percent of companies expect to stop providing devices to workers, according to a recent global survey of CIOs conducted by market research firm Gartner
"BYOD strategies are the most radical change to the economics and the culture of client computing in business in decades," said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs."
For the purposes of the survey, Gartner defines a BYOD strategy as one that allows employees and business partners to use their own personally bought devices to run enterprise applications and access work data. This usually encompasses smartphones and tablets, but it could also be used for desktop and laptop PCs.
One of the major upsides for business owners and management is that it allows them to increase their mobile workforce with minimal out-of-pocket expense
. Smartphones are fairly commonplace
these days, so it makes sense from a business perspective to tap into these existing resources.
"The enterprise should subsidize only the service plan on a smartphone," said Mr. Willis. "What happens if you buy a device for an employee and they leave the job a month later? How are you going to settle up? Better to keep it simple. The employee owns the device, and the company helps to cover usage costs."
Willis isn't alone in his thinking. By 2017, Gartner predicts half of employers will require their workers to supply any necessary electronic devices for work purposes.