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Mobile Rebels with a Cause

VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, has revealed new research highlighting the pressures European businesses face concerning mobile devices and applications in the workplace. The majority (64%) of European office workers do not believe their organisation provides them with the mobile tools and applications to be productive and efficient, or mobility policies that provide the flexibility to work effectively on the move (63%). More than a third (39%) of employees would actually consider leaving their organisation if told they couldn’t use their mobile device for work.

IT departments, however, are currently unable to meet employee requirements, with the European research, conducted by Vanson Bourne and commissioned by VMware[1], revealing that almost half of IT decision makers (47%) do not agree that their department can meet the mobile needs of staff across the business.

Encouragingly, businesses are recognising that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can boost productivity and employee satisfaction, and are looking to take action.  Nearly three quarters (72%) of IT decision makers said they have implemented or plan to implement BYOD, with a third (33%) of those respondents saying it was to attract and retain talent. Furthermore, more than half (54%) of IT leaders questioned said they are or will be designing systems and policies in 2013 that assume employees are mobile and accessing data remotely as the norm rather than the exception.

“This is evidence of an emerging class of mobile rebels with a real cause – a new wave of employees using mobile devices to their advantage, to work more effectively and drive innovation,” says Chris Norton, regional director, Southern Africa at VMware. “Many companies are playing catch up to this trend; if workers aren’t provided with the mobile resources they require, many will take the initiative and drive change themselves. Savvy businesses are recognising this and are prioritising formal mobility strategies to harness the initiative of their workers and deliver competitive edge.”

The research also highlights the security dangers that await IT departments not getting involved. Almost two thirds (62%) of IT leaders believe company information is being stored on personal devices, with almost half (49%) of them suspecting the information could be commercially sensitive. Their suspicions are legitimate: only a third (35%) of employees questioned were confident the data they stored on their personal devices was not commercially sensitive, meaning that the vast majority cannot be sure on the issue.

“Businesses must tread a fine line between embracing and promoting a flexible working culture, while protecting corporate intellectual property and customer data. There’s a mobile uprising occurring, and it’s creating management and security challenges for IT departments,” said Norton. “There’s also a great opportunity here, however. VMware believes alternative ownership models for companies such as BYOD can be implemented using an integrated workforce mobility approach. This can help businesses improve workforce productivity, gain faster access to new innovation and achieve differentiation, without compromising information security or business resilience.”

Additional findings:

More than half of office workers (57%) have considered the security risks of storing company information on free online file hosting services but nearly four in ten (37%) who are aware of the risks uploaded a company document to the site anyway.

  • According to IT decision makers, nearly half (45%) of senior management are aware of the issue around commercially sensitive data being stored on employees’ mobile devices but they either aren’t concerned about it or don’t think it’s a priority. The level of senior management apathy about this issue is most prevalent in Italy (70%). 
  • The overwhelming majority of office workers (82%) who have admitted having accessed company data on their personal device haven’t been disciplined by their manager or HR. Managers in The Netherlands are the most likely to let their employees off the hook with 91% of staff not being disciplined on the issue. 
  • The top five employee requests, according to IT decision makers, around mobile device and application access for effective working include:
    • Access to emails on mobile devices  60%
    • Company intranet 45%
    • VPN 39%
    • CRM application such as Salesforce  23%
    • File hosting 22%

 


[1] Specialist market research  agency Vanson Bourne  polled 1,500 IT decision makers and 3,000 office workers in companies with 100 - 5,000+ employees in the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and the Nordics (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) using a hybrid approach of telephone and online interviewing between March and April 2013.  

 

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