According to analyst firm Gartner, half of employers will require employees supply their own devices for work by 2017. Although BYOD has been widely touted as a productivity driver and the IT department’s support system, enterprises need to carefully evaluate whether BYOD is truly cost-effective or not.
One of the biggest myths is that BYOD saves companies money hand over fist. In fact, the cost to manage an entire BYOD environment is around $300 a year for a single user. Say a company is a typical midsize or large company with 2,500 to 5,000 employees. This would mean that company is paying, on average, between $750,000 and $1.5 million annually for its BYOD program alone.
However, if a company is still open to weighing out the cost-benefit, it’s important to remember that no two BYOD implementations are the same.
Evaluating Every Aspect of BYOD
Carefully consider the following points to arrive at a decision on whether BYOD is cost-effective or not:
- IT support will, in fact, either remain the same or increase and it will add complexity to the mobile ecosystem
- If security software is installed on devices, there will be an annual license or monthly fee involved
- There may be a tax burden to both the company and to the individual depending on how a reimbursement is processed
- Expect work-related overages such as fees from international travel
- Liability transfers are extremely time consuming for the IT team – it takes approximately 25 to 35 minutes each
- Extra network capacity should be secured to avoid straining the internal network
- If BYOD will be replacing corporate liable lines, the company might lose buying power with the current carriers as the account scale will decrease
- Look into early termination fees before migrating to BYOD
If an enterprise does pursue BYOD, wireless policies should be created to ensure some of the aforementioned complications and hidden costs are minimized. After all, mobile devices are productivity tools and each enterprise has different requirements of the use of them to best empower their employees.
Designing an Economical BYOD Policy
There are several components of a BYOD policy that should always be detailed and include:
- A list of devices that will be allowed
- Whether it is acceptable to use open network connections
- Password regulations
- The proper procedure to follow in order to protect data if a device is lost or stolen
- Whether the employer is allowed to monitor employee use of the device and if so, the need to explain when and why it allowed
- How managers can gain access to company information on a device of an employee who has left the company
- How employees will be compensated for using their personal devices for work
If an enterprise evaluates its own business needs with the above criteria and ultimately decides to pursue BYOD, it’s critical to plan in advance. The importance of planning when talking about a deployment of tens of thousands of devices can never be overstated. Every step is complicated when it has to be completed 10,000 or more times. The task of creating device orders with the carriers, on the surface seems straight forward, but doing so manually would take an incredible amount of time. The best way to combat the added complexity with mobile device management (MDM), wireless policies, and security risks is to work with a managed mobility services (MMS) provider.
When managed correctly, BYOD can provide companies with a way to save on device purchasing costs and also provide a greater degree of employee choice when it comes to plans and devices.