By Daniel Hunter

Choose-Your-Own-Device (CYOD) is widely regarded as the most appropriate strategy for meeting organisations’ communications needs in both practice and reality. This is according to an independent study of ICT decision makers conducted by Shape the Future and commissioned by Azzurri Communications.

Commissioned as a follow up to an equivalent 2012 study, Azzurri set out to learn how the perception and deployment of different device-ownership strategies were evolving within UK organisations. In particular the research investigated changing attitudes towards the three core policies for employees using a single mobile device for personal and business use:

1. Organisation-owned or “Don’t Bring Your Own Device” (DBYOD): Whereby device choice and ownership is strictly controlled by the employer (the traditional corporate set up)
2. BYOD or “Bring Your Own Device”: A mobile device policy that allows employees to connect their personal smartphones and/or tablets to the organisation’s network
3. CYOD: Where the organisation owns the SIM/contract, but lets employees choose their own device

While BYOD has garnered a lot of hype and column inches in recent years, Azzurri has found that significant adoption is yet to take place. While token adoption of BYOD, where fewer than 10% of employees can connect their private devices to the network, has increased considerably in popularity in the last year (growing from 43% to 58%), companywide adoption of BYOD (where 75% or more of employees are included) is faring rather poorly. Deployment of companywide BYOD has grown at half the rate of CYOD (BYOD increased by 6% while CYOD grew by 12%).

Significant CYOD policies are now in operation in under one third (31%) of UK organisations as compared to BYOD in only 17.2%.

Organisations are however warming to the idea of employees using a single mobile/work device, yet opinion still remains in favour of corporate provision. When asked to rate out of 5 whether they support the idea of employees using a single mobile device under a range of different scenarios (with 5 being ‘Completely Supported’ and 0 being ‘Strongly Opposed’), organisations still favoured policies in which they owned the device and/or contract.

For example, support for a single device ‘If the business owns the device’ has risen from 3.7 to 4.3. However support has grown in all scenarios since 2012, including those of a BYOD nature, suggesting that firms are shifting their views in favour of shared ownership. For example, support for a single device ‘If the employee owns the device’ has risen from 2.8 to 3.3 since last year.

The lack of BYOD adoption is reflected in the perception that BYOD is the least suitable for most organisations - 60% of organisations say CYOD is the best option for them vs. only 13% who say the same about BYOD.

“Despite all the puff and promise of BYOD, the evidence shows that adoption is far lower than the hype would lead us to believe. BYOD promises the world, but in reality most organisations are left paralysed and confused by what BYOD can really offer, so in the end they stick to what they know and avoid large-scale, companywide BYOD deployments,” Rufus Grig, CTO, Azzurri Communications.

"While we have found BYOD to be best policy in certain, specific situations (such as in hospitals where consultants usually own their own devices), overwhelmingly our customers find that the hybrid ‘Choose Your Own Device’ or CYOD approach is the best fit for their needs as it offers the right balance of choice and control.

"CYOD is therefore the best of both worlds; a controlled network environment that still offers employees the benefit of a single work/home device of their choice. CYOD is also less of a cultural leap for the organisation, since maintaining ownership of the contract is much closer to the status quo of corporate provision. So aside from the security and monetary risks, BYOD is often a leap too far for many, so it is only natural that they prefer to stick to what they know.”

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