5 top frustrations with mobile devices in the enterprise

A survey of 477 IT managers has found that there is less IT involvement in BYOD decisions, and frustration with the inevitable support they will require. But users need to set the terms.

More than eight out of 10 organizations have given up on trying to fight the influx of personal devices into their workplaces, and are now being more accommodative. And a majority now have policies regarding bring your own device (BYOD). However, IT departments are increasingly being sidelined — even though they will have to clean up whatever mess is made.

iPhone-2 CNET
Image: CNET

These are some of the findings of a new survey of 477 IT managers and professionals released by iPass and MobileIron, which suggests increased frustration and loss of control by IT, along with a concern over rising mobile data costs.

There has been a sea change in corporate attitudes toward BYOD: 81 percent of companies state that they now accommodate personal devices in the office. In addition, 54 percent of companies have formalized BYOD policies.

It's likely that executives bringing in their own devices played a role in this more accommodative atmosphere, as well. A majority of IT managers reported bending their rules to provision mobile devices for "specialized members" of their companies.

However, the survey also reports that IT departments are increasingly losing control of mobility budgets. The number of enterprises in which IT manages the mobility budget has dropped from 53 percent to 48 percent, while it is now managed by business units in 22 percent of companies, and by finance in 18 percent of firms.

IT may be kept out of the loop when it comes to BYOD, but it's guaranteed that business users will come begging for help and support. For example, a majority of respondents, 55 percent, reported some form of security issue over the past year, mostly in conjunction with lost or stolen phones.

Top frustrations expressed by IT managers and professionals about mobile devices include the following:

  1. Personal mobile device onboarding and ongoing support

  2. Support for specialized members' non-provisioned devices

  3. Data encryption/data loss/data backup and recovery

  4. Help desk ticketing/resolution

  5. Corporate mobile device onboarding and ongoing support.

Mobile application management and lack of standardization are also sources of frustration for many respondents.

Of course, it's important to remember that IT's role is to accommodate the technology that users need and want. IT frustration is no excuse for failing to adequately support a technology.

In terms of brand, the survey found that Apple's iPhone and iPad are now the devices of choice. In 2011, BlackBerry was the top enterprise smartphone, with support at 77 percent of companies. Apple's iPhone was second, with a presence at 52 percent of enterprises. In the latest Mobile Enterprise Survey, the brands switched places. The iPhone is now the leader, with support from 74 percent of enterprises. BlackBerry held onto second place, with 62 percent, but its popularity is eroding, the survey found.

Android-based phones have shown tremendous growth since the last survey, rising from 48 percent to 61 percent of the enterprises surveyed. Android is now a close third, behind BlackBerry, and is set to outpace it to claim the number-two spot by next year.

There is also interest in Windows Phone 8 handsets and Windows 8 tablets. Enterprise IT has been slow to embrace Windows Phone 7 and 8, but nearly one third of survey respondents said their companies would support Windows 8 devices in 2013, the survey shows.