BYOD: Why it's time for CIOs to get their strategy straight

CIOs must embrace consumerisation and bring-your-own-device, because it's here to stay...

...a range of flexible approaches to their mobile strategy.

"The landscape of devices and user needs is changing," noted Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner, in a statement. "CIOs are facing mass-mobility, and it is expected to grow rapidly."

Gartner predicts sales of smartphones to end users will reach 461.5 million in 2011 - overtaking PC shipments - and rise to 645 million in 2012. Combined sales of smartphones and tablets will be 44 per cent greater than the PC market in 2011, according to the analyst.

"CIOs need to explore new ways to provide, fund and manage mobile devices to allow employees more choice and support BYO programmes," added Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, in a statement.

"CIOs must be ready for the BYO programmes sooner than they realise. BYO is a principle that most organisations will adopt and organisations must prepare for this change."

Gartner reckons a spectrum of at least four new mobile management styles will emerge as different groups of staff demand different approaches to mobile kit. These will range from a 'control-oriented' style, where the organisation still provides and manages devices, contracts and applications; all the way up to a 'hands-off' approach, where the organisation typically does not provide devices or apps and sanctions employees sourcing their own mobile devices, email and hosted services. Any controls required for this approach are then applied in the cloud, in apps or by policies.

Global businesses should be prepared to support at least three smartphone platforms by next year, according to Gartner, with some needing to support four or even five.

The analyst predicts Android will remain the number one smartphone platform for several years, with Apple's iOS taking the number two position in 2012 until 2014. If the Nokia-Microsoft alliance executes well, the analyst says Microsoft's Windows Phone platform should grow to take the number two position by 2015 - displacing iOS. BlackBerry maker RIM will move to the number four position in 2013.

"Regardless of your current approach, the reality is that consumerisation is here to stay and will have an enormous impact on the management of corporate mobility for many years to come," added Milanesi.

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