Organisations know their employees are bringing their own devices to work with them, and many of them have formal policies in place that allow this, according to a Cirtix Bring-Your-Own (BYO) survey.

According to the survey, 92% of IT organisations are aware that employees are using their own devices in the workplace and 94% intend to have a formal BYO policy in place by mid-2013.

The research also found that attracting and retaining the highest quality talent, increased worker productivity and mobility and greater employee satisfaction, as well as reducing IT costs, are the primary drivers of BYO adoption.

“There are two distinct reasons that BYO is being embraced within organisations,” says Sean Wainer, country manager for Citrix South Africa. “There are those that are using BYO to keep up with the rapid consumerisation of enterprise IT, and there are forward-thinking CIOs who have embraced BYO as a way to attract the best talent, encourage a flexible working environment and raise productivity levels.”

Sixty two percent of surveyed organisations indicated that they have already invested or plan to invest in desktop virtualisation, technology that allows organisations to manage Windows-based desktops centrally in the data centre, then deliver them to all types of users across the enterprise.

Eighty percent of those organisations intend to leverage their desktop virtualisation investment to support employee-owned devices and BYO.  This trend is driven by the fact that desktop virtualisation addresses the two key challenges cited by survey participants – security and device management.  By enabling IT to centrally manage and secure desktops, applications, and data in the datacenter, business information is always secure. Even when data is stored on the end point device, IT has the ability to remotely erase data in the event the device is lost or stolen.  Desktop virtualisation makes it possible for IT to deliver desktops and apps straight from the datacenter to any device, making device management radically simpler.

“Desktop virtualisation enables IT to fundamentally rethink the way user hardware is provisioned by making a reliance on a limited number of corporate-standard PCs, laptops and smartphones a thing of the past,” adds Wainer. “It also provides a safe way of delivering a desktop to any employee, on any device, wherever they are, with a consistent high definition user experience.”

The survey also revealed that the types of devices used by workers will continue to evolve in the coming years. The most popular devices brought into the workplace today are the laptop and smartphone. However, most companies anticipate that within two years, the use of tablet computers as the primary personal computing device will rise significantly to almost 23 percent from just 8 percent today.

IT decision-makers also believe they will need to manage a wide range of tablet platforms by 2013 including Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows.  Desktop virtualisation technologies will make it possible for IT to support this growing device diversity with a universal way to deliver desktops and apps from the data centre.

Other key findings include:

* The primary benefits of BYO are improved employee satisfaction at 57%, increased worker productivity at 52%, greater mobility for workers at 51%, more flexible work environments for employees at 46% and reduced IT costs at 36%.

* Forty-four percent of organisations intend to pay employees a stipend roughly equivalent to the cost of its own IT department procuring and managing a comparable device and 31% plan to help offset some of the cost.

* Ninety four percent of IT decision makers indicated that the introduction of a BYO policy has predominantly been led by the IT department.  They also noted that other departments are getting involved in the development of BYO policies with Human Resources participating in 39% of organisations, Legal in 35% and Finance departments in 29%.