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General


If your company’s IT department is having any troubles wrestling with the “bring your own device,” or BYOD, trend, here is a handy new hook on which to hang the blame: The young people you just hired.

A new survey released last week from the company TrackVia, which helps companies build their own custom line-of-business Web and phone apps, finds that when it comes to employees and their attitudes about using third-party Web apps at the office, there’s precisely the kind of generational split you might expect.

It’s one thing for people to bring their personal iPhone or Android device to the office and to expect the company to support it with access to email and calendars. Many then pivot to using Web and phone apps with company data in ways that might go against corporate rules. Some, it turns out, are more willing to break those rules than others, creating the potential for IT headaches.

TrackVia asked 1,000 people via a Web survey about their use of third-party Web apps at work. Among the respondents, 70 percent of millennials (adults aged 18 to 33, per the Pew Research Foundation) admit to breaking corporate rules around using outside apps. Half of them said the approved apps aren’t good enough. And 60 percent of them said they didn’t think that by doing so they’d create a security problem for their employer.

That’s the sort of thing that makes CIOs nervous. While in general they’re opening up to support the BYOD trend, they also like to maintain as much control over the apps that run on their networks as they can.

While it’s perhaps not an entirely surprising set of findings, it’s interesting in part because so many newer cloud software companies tend to rely on people using them at the office without company approval. I’m thinking specifically of Dropbox and Evernote, but those are only two examples. Dropbox specifically went on to penetrate most of the world’s companies, which helped it build a base of users 300 million strong. It’s now building an enterprise strategy on the back of that popularity. Evernote is, too.

Those nervous CIOs will likely be happier with older workers, 69 percent of which say they don’t break the rules the way the younger folks do. But as you can guess, that will matter less over time as millennials grow into the majority of the work force, which is expected by the end of next year.

Of course some companies are embracing the BYOD trend so strongly that it has evolved into a requirement. A report by Gartner last year suggested that more than half of companies will require their employees to bring their own phone or computer to work.



2 comments
Peter Fretty
Peter Fretty

The BYOD trend is only a small important part of an increasingly mobile environment that is sure to intensify as what Cisco calls the Internet of Everything (innovatethink.com) has widespread acceptance. Accomplishing and supporting this level of seamlessness is going to take solid strategies and buy-in.  Fortunately the newest group of professionals is far more open to the technology evolution. 


Peter Fretty

IanWaring
IanWaring

Precisely 180 degrees from other research I've seen, where the younger employees are keen to comply with company standards, whereas the older affluent ones are the ones demanding access to corporate systems on their personal devices: http://www.computacenter.com/news/GenerationZ/byod_wont_woo_generationz.asp

It seems to be more a case of what IT managers think their younger employees would like and hence to provision for in the future, rather than what those younger employees actually think...

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