A trend dubbed “Bring Your Own Apps” is gaining pace in the workplace, according to a Telsyte report, which shows businesses are encouraging their staff to use apps for work purposes.
According to Telsyte, which surveyed more than 800 chief information officers and senior IT decision-makers, the Bring Your Own Apps (BYOA) trend is becoming a normal part of working life for many businesspeople.
Telsyte found 28% of Australian businesses allow some form of BYOA, with this trend was expected to grow rapidly over coming years.
BYOA software used for business includes data backups and storage, calendaring, collaboration, voice communications, project task management, productivity, multimedia and note-taking.
It’s important to note BYOA is a closely related trend of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, which is seeing more businesses allow staff to bring their own device into the workplace.
According to Telsyte, 43% of Australian businesses allow BYOD for notebooks, 40% for media tablets and 54% for smartphones.
These devices are often tightly integrated with mobile and cloud apps, which explains the subsequent rise of the BYOA trend.
The purchase of public cloud services by staff, without company intervention, is sometimes referred to as “credit card IT”, whereby end-users purchase apps and services to manage their information needs unilaterally.
According to Telsyte senior research analyst Rodney Gedda, the number of apps people can use in a work environment is being driven by software-as-a-service and mobile offerings.
Gedda says iOS and Android – the mobile operating systems of Apple and Google – are putting thousands of easy-to-use apps “at people’s fingertips”.
“It is inevitable people will use these apps for personal and business use,” Gedda says.
“The challenge… is balancing the productivity gains of BYOA with the security and business continuity risks.”
According to Telsyte, BYOA will become the focal point for businesses and even outstrip BYOD as the cost of smartphones and media tablets decreases, and the diversity of consumer cloud apps increases.
“BYOA is a significant trend in the consumerisation of IT,” Gedda says.
“But IT departments can also work with many of the public apps to investigate wider corporate deployments if the apps are popular and meet company objectives.”
According to Telsyte, BYOA benefits include a low barrier to entry as many public apps are free or low cost, and users typically experience high levels of reliability and usability.
However, BYOA has its own set of risks, including the security of the information.
In addition, providers are not always able to guarantee the long-term viability of a product or offer enterprise-level service level agreements (SLA).