New research points to workers taking IT into their own hands

A new survey has found a growing number of staff members are taking IT into their own hands when it comes to using freemium consumer solutions in the workplace, if their employer isn't providing the tools they need to get the job done.

This piece of research, carried out by Ovum UK (and commissioned by Dimension Data), took in the opinions of 100 senior IT decision makers across the UK, and found that 65 per cent of those in medium to large enterprises are using file syncing and sharing services which are freemium efforts designed for the average consumer.

This is, of course, symptomatic of a larger issue, namely businesses struggling to implement clear policies when it comes to employees using their own apps and devices in a work environment. The survey found that 70 per cent of organisations didn't have a formal BYOD policy, and that a number of firms are simply letting BYOD play out on an ad-hoc basis – 37 per cent admitted they were struggling to define a coherent strategy in this respect.

Related: Managing BYOD's downsides, the right way

Yet the importance of such flexibility is certainly acknowledged – 71 per cent agreed that a flexible workforce which is able to access data and apps on the move, from anywhere, is important in terms of making money and running a successful business.

When asked to cite the biggest challenges in terms of shifting to a "user-centric computing environment", two-thirds said that business risk and compliance issues are the primary obstacle, and 45 per cent admitted they lacked the necessary skills and resources to implement these.

Jim Barrett, End-User Computing Manager at Dimension Data, commented: "While 58 per cent of UK enterprises surveyed are already reassessing specific business processes and activities to take advantage of developments in mobile devices, a surprising 23 per cent are either adopting a wait and see approach, or have no foreseeable plans in this regard."

Read more: BYOD proving difficult transition, as half of all companies don't bother

And Richard Edwards, Principal Analyst, Enterprise, at Ovum added: "Continued growth in the use of employee owned devices and self-selected applications is changing the face of the end-user computing environment, yet many organisations continue with outmoded, desktop-only computing strategies that were conceived over a year ago. Workforce engagement must be a top priority if organisations are to flourish, and those organisations adopting a more progressive end-user computing environment are more likely to succeed."