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Gartner Says Bring Your Own Device Programs Herald The Most Radical Shift In Enterprise Client Computing Since The Introduction Of The PC

"Just as we saw with home broadband in the past decade, the expectation that the company will supply full reimbursement for equipment and services will decline over time, and we will see the typical employer favor reimbursing only a portion of the monthly bill," said Mr. Willis. "We also expect that as adoption grows and prices decline employers will reduce the amount they reimburse."

While BYOD programs can reduce costs, they typically do not. As businesses look to drive ever more capability to the mobile device, the costs of software, infrastructure, personnel support and related services will increase over time. Once companies start including file sharing, business applications and collaboration tools, the costs to provide mobile services go up dramatically.

Gartner believes that IT's best strategy to deal with the rise of BYOD is to address it with a combination of policy, software, infrastructure controls and education in the near term; and with application management and appropriate cloud services in the longer term. Policies must be built in conjunction with legal and HR departments for the tax, labor, corporate liability and employee privacy implications. Gartner recommends that companies start with a standard policy that would apply anywhere, and create customized versions by country if necessary.

"BYOD is not for every company, or every employee. There will be wide variances in BYOD adoption across the world — by geography, industry and corporate culture," said Mr. Willis. "Most programs are at the employee's discretion — they decide if they want to opt in. For the vast majority of companies it is not possible to force all users into a bring your own (BYO) program without substantial financial investments — and considerable support from senior management."

Despite the inherent challenges, Gartner believes that we are likely to see highly successful BYOD programs in the coming years. Many businesses will expand beyond smartphones and tablets and embrace BYO for personal computers. Beyond PCs, it is likely that users will discover new uses for emerging devices not initially understood by IT planners, much like we saw with the iPad.

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