Ride the Rising Tide — Some Tips for BYOD Solution Vendors

BoatsSaying BYOD is “hot” today is as big an understatement as saying that Alex Rodriguez did “just a few” steroids.  How hot? Well early this year, our firm, ZK Research did a study that revealed 82% of CIOs now support BYOD in some form.  In an effort to get a deeper look into BYOD and the impact it would have on IT spending, ZK Research and Tech Target jointly conducted a consumerization and BYOD purchase intention study, the results of which are summarized in this infographic.

The survey revealed many interesting facts that I think marketers of BYOD-related solutions should be aware of.  The most meaningful data point I took away from the survey was just how strong the momentum is now with regards to BYOD.  We asked the question, “How many of your largest IT projects for the next 12 months will be justified as enabling, securing, or managing BYOD?”  Last year 52% of the audience responded positively to this question.  This year, a whopping 82% of respondents stated they had BYOD-related projects.  Looking at the data a little more closely, 20% of the respondents state that over 25% of their large projects are BYOD-related.

The reason I think these data points are so meaningful is because they provide some “low hanging fruit” for vendors to engage with businesses. Not since Y2K do I remember a single IT initiative that was as pervasive as BYOD.  Additionally, it’s hard to imagine any vendor that does not have relevancy with respect to BYOD.  It involves network technologies, applications, the cloud, wireless, security, management, and other technologies.  So this brings me to the first tip to marketers — ensure relevant messaging that has a clear BYOD theme today.

The second big takeaway from the survey is that there is very little variance between the top projects that that are being evaluated as part of upcoming BYOD initiatives.  There are obviously a number of security-related projects that are currently underway or being evaluated, including data loss prevention, remote wipe of devices, network access control and mobile anti-malware.  However, these aren’t the only projects, as the survey also shows a number of others, including upgrading wireless networks, remote backup, desktop applications, and mobile application stores.  My next tip to technology marketers, then, is to understand which projects have been completed within your customer/prospect base and then create greater awareness.

The next notable point from the survey is to understand the urgency around BYOD.  The implementation of BYOD is one of the few IT projects that is not led by IT.  Back in my day as an IT manager we could prevent the use of any personal device by appealing to one of the C-level executives and claim that it was putting the business at risk.  Since most of the C-level were technically illiterate, it was easy to gain support from the company brass and hide behind corporate policy.  Today it’s that same CEO or COO that are saying things like, “I don’t care what our corporate policy is, find a way to make my iPad work.”  This is why 56% of the respondents state “pressure from employees” as the top driver for BYOD.  Not coincidentally, the #2 driver is “pressure from business leaders”.  What about saving money?  Well that fell way down the list, with only 24% of the respondents citing this as one of the top three drivers.  The tip for marketing professionals here is to understand that IT is under the gun to get BYOD implemented.  Do not focus on cost cutting; use your solution to help your customer, the IT department, get the business leaders off their backs.

I believe BYOD will be the most significant driver of IT spending over the next few years and will create a “rising tide” that should lift many boats.  Almost any vendor can capitalize on the opportunity if the messages are aligned to some of the key points highlighted in our survey.

Image credit: WikiMedia Commons