Why do people want to bring their own device to work? There are two main reasons. First, employees, especially the new millennials, are more comfortable with their own mobile devices. They have never lived without them. Secondly, company hardware is, well, clunky, outdated and difficult to use—what we have at home is superior technology. There are other reasons and IT departments are sometimes shy to admit them, but people expect devices to work and IT organizations can be painfully slow to respond. Other times there just isn't enough in the budget to let everyone have the device they want.
This trend has come to be identified as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). According to a Gartner Group survey, 38 percent of companies will stop providing devices to employees by 2016, which means they will completely alter the economics and culture of client computing in businesses. The benefits of BYOD include creating new mobile workforce opportunities, increasing employee satisfaction, and reducing or avoiding costs. Do companies have a real choice? No, BYOD is here to stay. But, could BYOD cost your company more than you bargained for? The uncomfortable truth is, yes.
Are you overdoing BYOD?
"Businesses are overdoing BYOD," says Siva Sai N who is responsible for Vodafone's Product Management for Consumer Services in emerging markets. "IT departments are afraid things will go wrong and could be over investing."
There are four recurring key costs associated with BYOD:
- Network capacity enhancement
- Mobile Device Management (MDM)
The average cost of data breach in 2013 was US$ 188 per record in the US and the total cost of data breaches in the US amounted to US$ 5.4 million[i]. Naturally, IT managers want to err on the side of caution. Nellore agrees they need to be adequately concerned about end-point security but when it comes to the remaining challenges surrounding BYOD, he thinks simple solutions stand a better chance of delivering a sustainable BYOD initiative.
The average cost of providing security is around $300 per person per year. Even a 25-person startup like Route 1 which has some top notch clients offers BYOD security to small businesses for a little less than $300 per person per year[ii]. Larger providers come with heftier price tags.
IT Directors are concerned about network performance, coverage and having sufficient bandwidth to support the new devices and applications. Adding capacity to networks to allow increasingly more bandwidth hungry devices is an ongoing expense. For many organizations, these numbers challenge the notion that with employees bearing the capital cost of devices, the BYOD trend eases pressure on IT budgets. That is clearly a myth.
Is BYOD a cost center?
There was a time when a business would replace desktops every three years. Now, users are changing mobile devices every 9 to 18 months. This only means that the number of device types is going to grow rapidly and so will the cost of supporting these devices. There is no hope of standardizing these systems and consequently no hope of bringing costs down in the short run.
With the addition of fancy Mobile Device Management (MDM) investments and IT help desk support to other reoccurring costs, BYOD could end up substantially increasing operating costs. Here's a BYOD cost center that is easy to miss. Unlike desktops, mobile devices don't idle in an office when employees go home; they are used 24X7 by employees from home, in coffee shops, at the movies and while playing golf. They want support for the device, regardless of what time it is and where they are. This means more work for IT support.
Improving ROI using CYOD
BYOD fast adds up to more expense and vanishing ROI. So, what's a business to do when employee pressure forces them to adopt BYOD? That isn't bad in itself (in fact, it is inevitable, so you may as well embrace BYOD whole heartedly). There is a way around BYOD, of course. Many IT managers believe the solution lies in good BYOD policy. Limiting the devices can be one solution that reduces complexity and keeps costs in check. This means moving from a BYOD approach to a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) approach. CYOD offers a list of devices that can be brought to work.
Do you think that 2014 is the year when you will move from BYOD to CYOD, to keep chaos and cost in check? While this may not impact your outsourcing strategy, CYOD will mean relooking at policy and getting answers to a few key questions. Is your outsourcing partner adept at CYOD? What are the value adds they bring to your approach to CYOD? Look for innovation around CYOD before choosing your outsourcing partner for CYOD.
[i] 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, Benchmark research sponsored by Symantec Independently Conducted by Ponemon Institute LLC, May 2013: https://www4.symantec.com/mktginfo/whitepaper/053013_GL_NA_WP_Ponemon-2013-Cost-of-a-Data-Breach-Report_daiNA_cta72382.pdf
[ii]BYOD Security Is Now Affordable For Startups, October 2013: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2013/10/31/byod-security-is-now-affordable-for-start-ups/