“Does BYOD Boost Productivity?” GovExec reports on GovLoop survey

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This topic contains 23 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  David B. Grinberg 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #171703

    David B. Grinberg

    GovExec.com reports on BYOD survey by GovLoop…

    Does BYOD Boost Productivity?
    By Brittany Ballenstedt

    October 29, 2012

    The majority of federal employees want their agencies to implement a policy that allows them to use their own devices for work, with many arguing that doing so will lead to cost savings and improved productivity, according to a new survey by GovLoop and Cisco.

    The survey of 108 GovLoop members found that 62 percent of respondents believe a bring your own device, or BYOD, policy would be desirable or extremely desirable at their agency. At the same time, only 20 percent of respondents indicated that their agency has implemented such a policy.

    Still, many respondents indicated that despite their agency’s lack of a BYOD policy, they still use personal devices such as smartphones for work purposes. They use their personal phones for email (41 percent); social networking (21 percent); entering time, expenses and business functions (13 percent); and reading and writing (30 percent). The majority said they do not use their personal tablets for work purposes.

    In addition, respondents were nearly split on whether the government should provide a device to employees. Fifty-six percent said the government should provide devices to employees, while 44 percent said the government does not need to provide devices.

    Respondents noted several benefits of implementing BYOD policies at agencies. Among them was allowing people to work on the devices they find most comfortable (71 percent), improved productivity (58 percent) and cost savings (55 percent).

    “One of the benefits is that if a person is very proficient on a device, they should take that proficiency into the workplace, rather than learning how to be minimally proficient with the government-provided device,” said Kimberly Hancher, chief information officer at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in the report. “I can’t overemphasize how important personal productivity is across the enterprise.”

    While federal agencies are not required to implement a BYOD policy, the White House in August released a toolkit for expanding BYOD and other mobility options for employees, citing benefits such as improved productivity and work-life balance among employees.

    The majority of respondents to GovLoop’s survey also agreed that BYOD policies could provide additional benefits to agencies in terms of recruiting and retaining workers. Fifty-six percent of respondents said that a BYOD policy could serve as a retention and recruitment tool, with some noting that it would demonstrate that agencies are forward-thinking and efficient, particularly to the Millennial workforce and teleworkers.

    Still, several respondents noted roadblocks to BYOD implementation at their agency. The biggest roadblock was perceived to be a lack of organizational support (57 percent), followed by no IT infrastructure to support multiple devices (55 percent) and costs (19 percent). Respondents also cited security, reimbursement issues and inconsistent IT policies as other roadblocks to BYOD implementation.


    By Brittany Ballenstedt

    October 29, 2012


    To learn more about the challenges, benefits, and best practices for BYOD, check out GovLoop’s report, “Exploring BYOD in the Public Sector.”

  • #171749

    David B. Grinberg

  • #171747

    David B. Grinberg

    Check out the new GovLoop report (and blog by Pat Fiorenza), “Exploring BYOD in the Public Sector

    Pat writes:

    “GovLoop has just released our latest research study, Exploring Bring Your Own Device in the Public Sector. The report highlights the challenges for implementing a Bring Your Own Device initiative; best practices, and provides insights from industry and government experts related to BYOD. Specifically, the report includes:
    Survey from 103 members of the GovLoop community on challenges, best practices, and benefits of BYOD.
    Interview with Kimberly Hancher, CIO at the EEOC about the BYOD program at EEOC
    Interview with David Graziano, Director, Security and Unified Access, US Public Sector Cisco
    Overview of the White House BYOD Toolkit
    Provides next steps to implement BYOD at your agency”

  • #171745

    Patrick Fiorenza

    Thanks for sharing, David!

  • #171743

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks for all of your awesome work on this topic, Pat!

  • #171741

    One of the beefs of the local high schools with BYOD is the lack of expertise in combining the device with the classroom effectively – not to mention the far fewer than expected participation. Maybe in the case of the government, if the agency and the employee could see eye to eye on the exact use, it would benefit each side more. It is the future and we must embrace it (albeit carefully) acknowledging that there will be a transition period.

    And I wonder if fear from lack of understanding by the teachers or in this case, employers, is another roadblock.

    So nice to see all this interest and information on the topic.

  • #171739

    Terrence Hill

    I think that BYOD is inevitable because the current model of the government furnishing devices is just not sustainable and justifiable, given the high cost to the taxpayer. The “perk” of a government-furnished phone and laptop will go the way of government cars, shuttles, free parking, travel, and personal offices. The government of the future will be mobile, agile, flexible, and creative.

  • #171737

    David B. Grinberg

    Terry, yours is a great vision and expectation for government generally — I commend you in that regard. It’s only too bad that CIOs cannot just snap their fingers and make BYOD happen.

    Like many govies, I fully agree with you that it’s not a question of “if” but “when” Uncle Sam will fully get up to speed with BYOD implementation government-wide. If telework is any example, this may be a multi-year painstakingly slow process. Yet one never knows.

    Perhaps with a lot of continued persistence by CIOs and agency leadership — plus unwavering support from the White House AND Congress (yet to occur on the Hill) — the transition will happen faster than we think. Let’s hope so.

    Either way, at least government is moving in the right direction with BYOD. The problem is that Uncle Sam — not known for speed — will have to move faster to keep up with the ever-increasing advances in digital and mobile technology.

    As the saying goes, the future is now!

  • #171735

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Elizabeth.

    The GovLoop staff has done an outstanding job in keeping this conversation front and center. Moreover, the GovLoop team deserves accolades for their informative BYOD report.

    Also, Elizabeth, I like your comparison of BYOD in the school system. I believe some or most public schools allow students to bring mobile devices, but then ONLY permit their use during non-class time. This policy appears self-defeating from an educational standpoint. BYOD may work better in private schools because of smaller class size, greater oversight, and closer collaboration between students and teachers.

    Regarding government, BYOD appears here to stay – as echoed in Terry’s awesome comments below. I think many government managers do have a good understanding of BYOD and want to embrace it just as much as non-managers. Yet major change is always slow and laborious in a massive bureaucracy.

    You may want to check out a lengthy blog I wrote back in May: BYOD and Beyond.

    Thanks again for your comments and contributions to this discussion, Elizabeth!

  • #171733

    Henry Brown


    got a long way to go before BYOD becomes the “name of the game”, too many stakeholders feel like that they will lose power…

    IT department will feel threatened by loss of control…

    Procurement department will feel threatened by loss of funding

    Individual managers will feel threatened by the fact that they will no longer be able to control when and where the employees will work…

  • #171731

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks for expressing your strongly held views on this topic, Henry.

    Based on your comments, it appears there may be a lot of fear and uncertainty out there about BYOD implementation by the “powers that be” who run government IT and procurement offices, as well as management and stakeholders generally.

    My suggestion is to apply FDR’s iconic and wise words from his first inaugural address in 1933 to today’s cutting-edge digital-mobile-information age:

    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

  • #171729

    Julie Chase

    When my kids were in high school, we couldn’t afford such devices….in 2002 and 2004, a cell phone was a “luxury” item. I am sure you find that most families cannot afford Iphones for their children with all the bells and whistles. This should be taken into consideration. You will have WW3 on your hands if BYOD goes the way of free breakfast and lunch in school.

  • #171727

    Julie Chase

    Terry, if so, do you believe Uncle Sam will force me to purchase an Iphone? Will a GS11 and GS12 happily bring their device to the table (which I know cost a fortune)….while I, a lowly bottom feeder are still using the same desktop PC (at home) for the last 5 yrs? Will I now have to go out and buy an IPad. a laptop and an internet capable phone? I have a mediocre cell phone. It’s a Samsung Galaxy, but not the 4G model. I don’t use it for internet. I use it to get calls and receive calls. My DH has a Samsung flip phone, no internet. Cost is much less that way. Remember the pay freeze and the FEHB going up this open season?

    I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around this. I don’t want, and I have spoken about this at work…and my co workers agree…..they don’t want ANY of their “bought and paid for” “personal” tech on Uncle Sam’s network, period.

    As for our IT dept,, the would trip over each other trying to “get rid” of the responsibility of telling us NO with anything pertaining to IT.

    Procurement….yeah, I think they would have a problem using their personal IT to order thousands of dollars worth of stuff through their personal device. As a gov credit card holder, I don’t want Citibank on my personal computer. When I close the door to my office at the end of the day…..I leave all the “office” mindset there.

    It boggles the mind why any sane person would want Uncle Sam’s gazzillion gigabites of security software on their “personal” IT. And….to add insult to injury,….Uncle Sam reserves the right to “confiscate” said device at any time. No thanks.

    My work PC is a piece of crap, slow as molasses in January (because of all the security software) and it controlled (at the moment) by a contractor. (Big Mistake and I think the Navy just woke itself up out of a horrible nightmare) But ya know, this is what I have to work with. If the network goes down, it’s not my problem and therefore, I shouldn’t have to take up the slack by providing my IT. It’s not just me….I know I could poll the entire installation and they would feel the same way.

  • #171725

    Julie, while I agree that in 2004 a cell phone was luxury, today it is commonplace. I don’t know a single student at my teenagers’ school (largest in state) who does not have a cell phone. And I don’t know a single friend of my children who does not have access to portable internet, whether it be a nook, ipad, ipod or a smart phone. We are not wealthy either. I suspect there are areas in the country where this is not true but all around DC metro area it is the rule.

    Teachers and schools ARE incorporating them into academics – it is slow and an expected learning process, but it isn’t because the kids don’t have them.

    I think rather than fight the inevitable, the government is wise to be at the rise of technology. Forget WW3, think W3 (a really cool technology website.) People are bringing them to work; people are on them everywhere – restaurants, airports, schools, galas, poll lines, buses, … the world is changing and the US should be ahead of the curve.

  • #171723

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks for weighing in on this, Julie. It seems clear that BYOD is not for thee. You raise several good reasons why.

  • #171721

    Julie Chase

    wow…what school district is that?. I am guessing it’s not a title 10/20 school. Connectivity “is” a problem in rural areas especially in the south. You get “dial up”. Cell towers are few and far between. Dropped calls are commonplace. I don’t have $400.00 4G Iphone and I sure wouldn’t buy a teenager one either. It seems the work economic situation with the feds in DC is just tripping the light fantastic, while here at our military installations, we are pinching pennies. I am guessing most high school students have a cell phone, however, I can bet they aren’t high dollar Iphones. In the high schools here in most of NC, cell phones can be taken from students if they ring in class and detentions are given out if you are caught text messaging during class. I know an Iraq veteran whose child attends a local elementary school. Technology would go a long way in helping this little guy. He has very poor vision and while stationed in California, the school system there had a magnified touch screen computer. Here, the school system says it’s too costly for just “one” child. So they just put a magnification overlay on the computer which is very distorted. Technology costs money, whether it’s the school system or the mom and pop at home trying to afford the basics to keep their kid prepared. If my kids were still in school, there is no way we could afford an ipad for each of them, much less a smart phone.

    Yes, people are bringing them to work. I doubt DoD and DoN are allowing them to be plugged into the network. If they are, it’s not here. I could see Dept of Ag, or Do Justice, or Commerce, but not Defense. Heck, they are wringing their hands over allowing us on the “cloud”. As for the airports, buses, etc. No way would I walk around in public with a high dollar device…..that could easily get ripped off. I live in the real world. The US is ahead of the curve, it just depends on “where” you live on that curve, and the fed agency where you are employed. While you may be able to stream music, discuss your innovative ideas on social media, IM a coworker down the hall or in the next building, view LinkedIn during work hours…all of that is prohibited where I work. (on an unclassified computer)

    Outside the beltway is a whole other world. The government is wise to be at the rise of technology, but it needs to spread fairly across all agencies and areas. For me, I don’t want to have to buy IT for work. It’s beyond my pay grade for such a requirement.

  • #171719

    Well I certainly don’t speak for any “DC Feds” – I am just a wannabe. I am fascinated by your implication of disparity within federal gov agencies and office locations. I had no idea.
    But I also see some general negativity in your remarks. Sure, a new iPhone would be costly, but used iPods (or older smart phones) are not. One does not need an iPad or a laptop to use technology in school. Some schools use texting features of student phones to promote interest and deter kids from using the more unsuitable features of their devices during class – because again, they ALL bring them to school. Rather than “fight them, many schools have decided to join them” because they are here to stay.

    More relevant to the topic though – BYOD- I am led to believe, from the few articles I have read on Govloop and other blogs, is about government employees using the device they already own and are comfortable with, to make their job more satisfying to them and more productive. Are agencies looking to require employees to buy devices? I cannot imagine the nuisance of carrying a blackberry for the job and a cell phone for personal use. Obviously there is in place, already, some consideration for not using a personal device in an inappropriate agency (ie DoD.)

    Do you not have the power within your work place to improve this sad situation? Are things completely out of your hands? Are there future plans in place to install more current technologies at your job? Have you made suggestions to supervisors? Is this even possible? I am very interested in workings of various government jobs and would love to hear what power you have to improve the situation you are in. Am I crazy to think that we all benefit in this country from efficient and technologically advanced government workplaces regardless of which state they are in?

    And if schools in rural NC are still using dial-up, there is indeed, quite a chasm. The large school district here is supplying e-texts to students for a good portion of classes, with no option for a traditional book at all. And a vision for more and not less, along those lines, is what the future holds for these kids.

  • #171717

    Julie Chase

    I can understand how cumbersome it must be to carry a blackberry and a cell phone. As a GS on the single number grade, I see no reason why I or anyone in this grade step area would need to be tethered to their work. I know GS12 and above, managers who have gov paid for blackberries, not forced upon them, but because they “wanted” one. My manager, did not and turned his in. Yes, there is a disparity between sub agencies. It’s called “funding”. I agree used Ipads are not as costly, however, the “plans” that go with are. There are many families who cannot afford this. Re; dial up. I was referring to the “homes” of the students vs. the school itself. I too have read articles on BYOD. I have talked to my manager who is very pro technology and is in agreement with myself and co workers. They don’t want Uncle Sam on their personal devices, period. If you know anything about DoD it is stacked to the ceiling with policies/regulations/ etc. So it is written, so let it be done. Our IT office adheres to these rules and regulations some of which have been in place since the late 90’s. No, you are not crazy. I too think we all benefit from efficient technology, especially in the workplace. The cost is a factor. If you read other blogs, you will find that are segments of the fed service who do not want the fed on their personal devices. As a typewriter was provided for 303’s back in the day, so should tech be provided for employees. I work in semi industrial. We cannot be mobile and agile. We are “in place”. Another myth about feds, we all don’t work in offices. Some of us repair/refit, ships, subs, planes, GME fleets, and facilities. Military installations….depending on the branch are funded accordingly. The Air Force gets the most funding. The other 3 are subject to debate. The agencies sponsoring the branches in other states, work with the tech handed to them by the Feds in the upper tier…aka, DC. We are regulated what to purchase, how to purchase, how to use, what we can use, what we cannot use. Thumb drives have been banned for years for security reasons. A suggestion was to have the IT dept hand out thumb drives, coded if you will, so they won’t work in any computer unless it’s a “.mil”. This is forward thinking and a good work around security issues.

    I appreciate your forward thinking and suggestions. It is difficult however, to implement or suggest when an employee is “bound” by regulations prohibiting what will move the gov forward. Now if “funding” could be a topic and “how to do this” without compromising security….or forcing me to use my own device….I’m all ears….er…eyes. :o)

  • #171715

    Steve Radick

    I don’t know if BYOD increases my productivity, but I know that BYOB increases my morale!

  • #171713

    Julie Chase

    Thank you David for allowing a different perspective.

  • #171711

    David B. Grinberg

    Thank you, Julie, for sharing your valuable perspective.
    All voices should be heard in order to have an objective, open and constructive dialogue — especially diverse viewpoints.
    Obviously, BYOD is not for everybody. Moreover, it’s important to remember that BYOD is still in the pilot stages. Thus, we have a way to go before any final agency-wide or government-wide policies are implemented — if at all. The U.S. Congress also needs to weigh in.
    BYOD, like telework, may be dependent on the specific agency at which one works as well as one’s specific job duties. Multiple factors come into play, many of which have been expressed on GovLoop in various blogs, discussions, and reports.
    You deserve to be commended, Julie, for bringing a unique perspective to this ongoing discussion. Hopefully, more folks will follow your example.
    The more diverse viewpoints presented, the better for all to gain a comprehensive understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of BYOD nationwide.

  • #171709

    David B. Grinberg

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to this discussion — including Steve with that funny remark.

  • #171707

    David B. Grinberg

    Federal News Radio: USDA laying the groundwork for BYOD

    “Charles McClam, the deputy chief information officer at USDA, said the agency is doing some spring cleaning to prepare for the day when employees log on to the agency’s network using their personal smartphones and tablet computers…He said details on the mobile division still are in the design stage, but the new office is a recognition of the impact smartphones and tablet computers are having on the agency and the federal community at large.”

  • #171705

    David B. Grinberg

    GovExec.com reports AGAIN on GovLoop BYDO report and related GovLoop discussion…
    Brittany B. writes in the “Wired Workplace” column:
    “There’s an interesting conversation going on at GovLoop about the blog post I wrote late last month on GovLoop’s recent report on bring your own device, or BYOD, policies and the ability of such policies to enable cost savings and boost employee productivity. One of the major drivers of BYOD is the potential costsavings for federal agencies. At the same time, agencies face a major hurdle in determining how to reimburse federal employees to ensure they are not personally incurring the cost of increased data usage from work-related activities. GovLoop Community Manager Andrew Kzmarzick notes in the report that agencies might consider overcoming this hurdle by looking at other ways in which government reimburses employees.”

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