While the BYO trend is most commonly associated with employee-owned smartphones and tablets entering the workplace, new research by Cloud and mobile services vendor, LogMeIn,sheds light on another growing aspect of employee-driven tech adoption: the rise and impact of bring your own apps (BYOA).
The survey, which polled more than 1200 SMBs worldwide found that nearly 70 per cent of SMBs report active use of employee-introduced applications, including Cloud sync and storage collaboration apps, productivity apps, and social apps.
More than a third of those surveyed felt this trend will increase significantly over the next five years.
In addition to that, 22 per cent of SMB IT pros indicated to be fully prepared to handle BYOA and 43 per cent are concerned with lack of control over these apps.
It also showed that most SMB IT pros expect their policies to increasingly embrace and encourage the use of such apps over the next couple years. A/NZ survey responses closely mirror the results and trends from the other regions surveyed.
According to LogMeIn products senior vice-president, Andrew Burton, in spite of inherent security concerns, there is an increasing number of businesses embracing the rise of employee-introduced applications entering the workplace. "Like BYOD, the BYOA trend is likely to introduce a fresh set of IT challenges when it comes to managing a relatively unpredictable, heterogeneous environment -- a modern workplace reality that blurs the line between devices and data ownership," Burton said.
Other key findings from the study include:
69 per cent of social apps and 52 per cent of Cloud sync and storage apps being used within SMBs were originally introduced by employees.
67 per cent of SMB IT pros listed data security of apps in the Cloud as a primary factor limiting adoption of BYOA, while 43 per cent cited lack of control/management as a limiting factor.
47 per cent of SMB IT pros indicated BYOA can provide increased flexibility, while 37 per cent said BYOA can help discover gaps in the set of apps needed in the workplace.
89 per cent of IT pros said BYOA will demand changes to the required skill set for managing SMB IT environments, and 25 per cent predicted BYOA will force major changes to the required IT skill set.
32 percent of SMBs stated they have no BYOA policy in place, 30 per cent said they encourage the use of BYOA, 22 per cent discourage use and 16 per cent prohibit such use.
"This research makes it fairly clear that there is yet to be an agreed upon way for SMBs to best manage and secure the influx of these apps into the workplace...or the sensitive data created by and shared within them," Burton added.