There’s a general perception that Canada often lags behind other major markets in embracing major technology trends, but a new study from Ovum, commissioned by Dimension Data, says that isn’t the case for one of the biggest trends shaping the industry right now. The study found that more than three quarters of Canadian firms support employee-owned devices on the network, placing Canada near the top of the nations surveyed when it comes to enabling bring-your-own-device (BYOD).
The research found that 76 percent of Canadian businesses allow employee-owned devices on the network – but of that, only four percent give employees carte blanche to bring in whatever smartphone or tablet they desire. The remaining 36 percent of those who support BYOD allow approved devices on the network.
And the study suggests there’s little likelihood of that adoption shifting much – of those surveyed, only two per cent said they plan to move towards BYOD over the next 12 months, with another two percent saying they expect to implement a new policy in the next 24 months.
Globally, the study found that only 46 percent of enterprises have an in-place BYOD policy.
The study, which was only of businesses 1,000 people or larger, also found Canadian businesses are quite willing to let their employees use consumer-grade applications in the business world. Nearly 60 percent of Canadian enterprises allow the use of Skype, Facebook, and Twitter for employee communications, about a 10 percent premium over the global averages.
Canada also ranked well in adoption of IP telephony (83 percent versus 75 percent globally), and the survey found Canadian businesses are particularly fond of shared workspace environments – 60 percent versus 39 percent globally.
The study suggests both the willingness to embrace a major new trend with mainstream acceptance of employee-owned devices in the enterprise, and the discipline to implement controls around that trend, with a high percentage of those allowing BYOD indicating polices around what devices can be brought into the enterprise, and how they can be used.
For the channel, the enterprise stance around BYOD has clearly matured. But there are still opportunities for solution providers to offer tools and business processes to help maximize an enterprise’s BYOD strategy – the report notes particularly an “opportunity for Canadian firms to better leverage the devices which their employees are already bringing to their jobs,” most notably with the rollout of enterprise-grade unified communications and collaboration tools onto those devices.
And while the study solely looks at the 1,000-plus seat market, it’s safe to assume that as goes the enterprise, so too will eventually go the SMB market that is the heart and soul of the channel’s business. SMB employees are certainly not immune from the desire to bring their preferred tools to work, particularly as they see more of their peers’ enterprise workplaces embracing the approach.
But SMBs are likely to lack the experience, IT resources, and tools to successfully implement a BYOD strategy that works, and are likely to, as ever, turn to their local VAR or MSP for advice on how to embrace BYOD. This can lead to solution provider opportunities ranging from business process consulting, policy best practices, and other professional services, down to providing, and managing, tools to manage SMBs’ newly-forged BYOD policies.