December 11, 2014
It’s been a few years since Bring-Your-Own-Device made its debut in the business world.
Since then, it’s been touted as one of the most popular and innovative strategies for large businesses – particularly in terms of cost savings. This ultimately led to a demand for BYOD expertise (see What Everyone Should Know About BYOD) and a push toward BYOD adoption (see Half of Employers May Adopt BYOD by 2017).
Now, after much speculation and adjusting to this new technology, the results are in: comprehensive research by Gartner shows that the BYOD strategy generally succeeds in achieving savings.
However, it’s important to note that poorly-implemented BYOD programs can radically change the economics of end-user computing without driving cost savings.
As of 2014, BYOD is becoming more accepted in the workplace. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2017, 90 percent of organizations will support some form of BYOD.*
According to Gartner’s analysis, BYOD strategies have matured extensively in the past few years, yielding important benefits. Moreover, many early adopters are showing strong results while learning the ropes of BYOD (see Make BYOD Security a Priority, ASAP).
Benefits include increasing the number of mobile-application users in the workforce, creating new opportunities for CIOs as well as the business. In addition, BYOD is shown to drive employee satisfaction, productivity and new applications.†
On the other hand, BYOD also requires IT and business units to invest in policy, security, management and infrastructure expansion, increasing risks for CIOs (see CIOs: How to Regain Control Over Your Priorities) and changing expectations for workforce enablement.†
With these effects in mind, Gartner offers a few best practices† to ensure optimal results from BYOD:
In a recent discussion about the economics of BYOD, Gartner noted the fact that enterprise IT departments can support nearly three times as many users in BYOD tablet programs than company-purchased tablet programs.*
Furthermore, savings from acquisition costs and lack of reimbursement for voice and data plans make a strong case for the financial benefits of BYOD.
However, this doesn’t always mean that BYOD is the right program for all businesses (see BYOD May Not Be Saving as Much Money as You Think). In fact, organizations supporting BYOD are just as likely to see their infrastructure investments increase as decrease. Gartner notes† that the level of investment is directly proportional to the success and uptake rate of their programs.
As such, companies need to work to find the right level of support for BYOD programs to take advantage of the potential cost savings. Beyond the hardware, companies have to set the appropriate level of reimbursement for voice and data costs.†
An interesting finding from Gartner’s research highlights the similarities between costs for enterprise-owned and user-owned smartphones.
For this reason, experts advise against choosing BYOD solely for cost-reduction goals. However, if cost reduction is a primary concern, companies must design their BYOD programs with tightly-controlled eligibility parameters and minimized subsidies, as well as an emphasis on encouraging uptake and discouraging enterprise-owned devices. Furthermore, budget constraints should be considered while creating policies and service plans outlining BYOD support models.‡
Another common reason for choosing BYOD is to increase user satisfaction by allowing users to carry a single device of their choice, which improves employee engagement and retention, according to Gartner.‡
In this case, the extent to which different devices and platforms will be supported is an important factor.
Offering more support for a larger range of devices and platforms, for example, will be simpler and less expensive for a BYOD program than for enterprise-owned device program. Yet in both cases, expanding the diversity of supported devices will mean an overall cost increase.‡
Beyond just catering to users entitled to a corporate mobile device due to work needs, BYOD allows organizations to reach users that only occasionally have a need for a mobile device for work or would like to use one for convenience.
For these users, a BYOD program must be designed with clear SLAs in place for support, and will include only partial or no subsidy or allowance for the hardware and service costs, making the cost per user much lower than the cost of an enterprise-owned device.
* Patrizio, Andy. BYOD is saving serious money for IT, NetworkWorld. 2014 Network World, Inc.
† Willis, David A. “Bring Your Own Device: The Results and the Future”, Gartner. 5 May 2014. Gartner, Inc.
‡ Troni, Federica and Silver, Michael A. “Understand the Financial Impacts of BYOD”, Gartner. 4 December 2014. Gartner, Inc.
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