A global survey commissioned by Amdocs explores the growing demand for “bring your own device” (BYOD) support from business customers and the system implications this has for service providers.
This new survey follows previous Amdocs research that identified key gaps between business customers’ expectations and the services they receive. It highlights the need for converged business and operational support systems (B/OSS) to provide an end-to-end view of the customer, linking personal and business personas for a unified customer experience.
“The business segment represents huge revenue potential for service providers and, to capitalize on this market, they will need to offer tailored and competitive offerings, including BYOD,” comments Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president/Product and Solutions Marketing at Amdocs. “By converging BSS and OSS, service providers gain a unified customer view required to support BYOD requests, such as creating hybrid plans and offering device support, ultimately simplifying the customer experience.”
Key findings include:
>> Accelerated demand for BYOD: 73 percent of service providers expect to see a 10-percent to 25-percent increase in BYOD device requests from business customers in the coming year due to the recognized benefits for businesses. Cost savings, employee satisfaction and increased productivity are cited as the primary benefits of BYOD for service providers’ business customers, with almost half of service provider respondents believing BYOD will decrease costs and increase productivity.
>> BYOD brings unique system requirements for service providers and support issues for businesses: Businesses are asking their service providers for the ability to split bills between personal and business use (52 percent) and the ability to disable such business functions as email and IM when users switch to personal mode (52 percent). Business customers perceive issues with excessive bandwidth use (75 percent) and increased IT support costs (70 percent) as the biggest challenges with BYOD initiatives.
>> System integration essential for BYOD support: Despite 77 percent of respondents stating that residential and business B/OSS integration is needed to support the BYOD market and specific business requests, only half are able to link personal and corporate personas. The lack of B/OSS convergence (53 percent) is cited as the main inhibitor because it prevents a single view of the customer (51 percent). The absence of a flexible product catalog (37 percent) and a real-time system for postpaid enterprise customers (31 percent) also were identified as significant concerns for service providers.
Across The Pond
In Britain, communications giant BT found that more than 80 percent of European IT managers think that enterprises with a BYOD policy hold a competitive advantage over other organizations.
BT’s research, which surveyed attitudes toward employee use of personal laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, covered 2,000 IT users and IT managers in 11 countries and from a range of sectors. It suggests BYOD has arrived; the vast majority of respondent companies say they already allow BYOD or will do so within the next 24 months, and 60 percent of employees claim they are already allowed to connect personally owned devices to the corporate network.
The study also reveals that both employees and decision makers are positive about the opportunities presented by the growing use of personal devices on corporate networks. Sixty-four percent of IT managers think that having a BYOD policy will enable employees to be more productive, 48 percent think it also will allow employees to work more flexibly, and 47 percent think it will enable employees to serve customers better. In addition, 42 percent of employees using their own devices for work believe they are more efficient and productive as a result.
Despite these benefits, IT managers are nervous. Only 10 percent think all BYOD users recognize the risks and fewer than 20 percent believe all users understand the access/permissions related to their mobile devices.
And it appears IT managers are nervous with some justification, BT notes. Of employees who use their own devices for work, 33 percent see "no risk" in using their own devices in a work context and 25 percent recognize the significant risk they pose to company security.
Notes Neil Sutton, vice president/Global Portfolio at BT Global Services, "There is no denying it. The BYOD genie is out of the bottle, bringing with it unprecedented opportunities for enterprises but also new threats. The new perimeter is everywhere, defined by employee-owned devices, clouds, and extranets. The risk of abuse and attack has multiplied along with this massive expansion.”
He continues, "To meet these challenges head-on, enterprises need to have a clear policy, a combination of the right tools to implement it, the trust with which to deliver it to employees and the processes in the business that everyone understands and buys into. IT security has always been about a blend of people, policy, process and technology, and the right blend is even more critical in a BYOD world. Rather than being perceived as a barrier to agility or flexibility, security can act as an enabler which improves an organization’s ability to adapt to the BYOD trend."
More than 80 percent of IT decision makers believe that putting 24/7 access to corporate systems into the hands of an increasingly mobile workforce is now the main threat to corporate IT security.
Sutton adds, "So while pressure to allow BYOD is high, IT decision-makers need to tackle a range of issues before they feel able to introduce a BYOD policy. Security is the highest priority, with 73 percent of IT managers stating that they first had to overcome the security challenges of BYOD.”