Much has been written and debated about the rising popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) throughout the world. The subject continues to cause headaches for European companies. Our latest research with HR professionals, IT professionals, and suppliers in Europe reveals that:

  • The business climate in Europe does not favor BYOD deployment.The threat of cost explosions due to cross-border data roaming inhibits BYOD programs; mistakes like putting a BlackBerry SIM into an unauthorized smartphone can cause massive bill shock. Employment regulations, data protection laws, and tax laws inhibiting flat budget models also raise barriers. Finally,asking employees to shoulder responsibility for security andlimited support for private devices endangers business continuity.


  • BYOD in Europe is happening by accident. European employees are unsatisfied with corporate devices and want to use their own — but according to the Forrsights Telecom And Mobility Workforce Survey, Q2 2013, only 6% of them are willing to pay the full cost of a mobile or smartphone used for business purposes. Official BYOD policies remain the exception rather than the rule. Only 15% of European mobility officers surveyed have gone beyond a pilot phase; fewer than 9% include tablets.

In this climate, doing nothing is no option, as more and more end users will bring their own devices (and applications) if firms don’t communicate an active mobile policy.

What it means: It’s imperative to make a choice on BYOD now and roll out a policy.

Despite the many BYOD challenges in Europe, there are viable options to enable employees with mobile devices; if your organization has resisted BYOD, it's time to consider them. Instead of waiting for technology, regulation, and pricing models to evolve, companies driving mobile engagement deploy two scenarios. The success of each hinges on determining, implementing, and communicating a clear path to adoption:

  • CYOD (choose-your-own-device) policies take the heat off of BYOD. Companies implementing CYOD provide users with a choice from a shortlist of popular smartphones and tablets without enabling them to bring their own. In contrast to BYOD, the organization funds, supplies, and fully manages these devices. Allowing some private usage within corporate boundaries will go a long way toward satisfying end users.


  • Horses for courses. A highly targeted “horses for courses” approach provisions specific devices with specific workflow applications for specific roles. This allows companies to address the mobility challenge without opening themselves up to the broader BYOD issues. Horses for courses gives end users no choice of device but also doesn’t saddle them with responsibility for managing their own technology.

Forrester clients interested in learning more about best practices in this area can download my brand-new report,Demystifying BYOD In Europe.