I just saw something that makes a point I covered in a technology trends briefing for a client yesterday. After getting my Sun-dried Ethiopia Harrar (a $3.45 “clover-brewed,” ridiculously priced guilty pleasure – nice marketing job, Starbucks!), I noticed a young woman sitting behind me with her 5×7 notebook out, busily scribbling while bent over a large smartphone. Hmmm, I thought, let’s see what she’s doing. So I made pest of myself by asking a few questions. Here is some of the Q&A (her replies are abbreviated; she was actually quite helpful and not as curt):

  • Q: Are you a student or is what you are doing for work? A: No, I’m actually working.
  • Q: So do you have a PC? A: I do, but it’s a bulky 17” laptop that I got when I was a student, and I can do what I need on this.
  • Q: Is that company-issued phone, or is it yours? A: It’s mine.
  • Q: Does your company help by paying for any of the service? A: No, I pay it all myself.
  • Q: Are you doing an official assignment? A: No, nobody told me to do this. I am …
  • Q: Do you even have your PC with you? A: No, I didn’t bring it.

Our data indicates that what I observed is becoming extremely common. For example, we find that half of employees pay for all of their smartphone services while using them to get work done. Furthermore, about two-thirds of the 20-something workforce choose their own productivity tools; 40% do so despite company policy that they only use company-issued technology tools for company work. That’s perhaps expected, but have you considered that while 20-somethings are only about one-quarter of the workforce now, by 2020 they will be more than half?

And, OBTW…2020 is not that far off!

My question: What is your firm doing about this? Our data indicates that some companies are figuring out how to stop fighting this trend and leverage it to make their employees more free and productive while also using it to make deeper connections with customers. If you are still scheming with security on how to squash this behavior, reconsider your strategy. BYOD is here.

And yes, I’m writing this from my company-issued, bulky PC even though I probably should have grabbed the iPad sitting next to it. Guess I’m showing my age!