VMware survey spotlights mobile rebels with a cause

VMware has revealed new European research highlighting the pressures businesses face concerning mobile devices and applications in the workplace.

The majority (67 per cent) of UK office workers surveyed said they 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 (62 per cent).

More than a third (39 per cent) of UK employees said they 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, revealing that almost half of IT decision makers across Europe (47 per cent) 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 (70 per cent) of UK IT decision makers said they have implemented or plan to implement BYOD, with almost a third (32 per cent) of those respondents saying it was to attract and retain talent. Furthermore, almost half (46 per cent) of UK 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 Joe Baguley, CTO at VMware, EMEA.

"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. In the UK, more than two thirds (69 per cent) of IT leaders believe company information is being stored on personal devices, with almost half (43 per cent) of them suspecting the information could be commercially sensitive. Their suspicions are legitimate: only a third (35 per cent) of employees questioned across Europe (and 41 per cent of British) were confident the data they stored on their personal devices was not commercially sensitive, implying 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 Baguley.

"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."

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